Bare-Knuckling it on Your Own as a Leader is Like Trying to Teach Yourself How to Sing

by | May 20, 2021 | Insights

Sure, you may be able to tell when you’re off-key, but the reality is that you will never hear yourself as others do.


When a leader works with a mentor, coach or advisor, they are asking:

  1. How do I sound?
  2. Do I make sense?
  3. Am I doing what I need to in order to inspire my organization?
  4. What’s in my way of achieving my goals that I can’t see?
  5. How am I tripping myself (and others) up?
  6. What small thing can I do (or not do) that will have a huge impact?


Many of these things (most?) are impossible to see for oneself, and especially so the more senior one is. Remember the emperor who had no clothes? You may think your team tells you everything you want to know. Having been both the team member and the team leader in my career, I can tell you: That is rarely true.


What you’re not hearing all alone inside your bubble?


They may be major issues, or they may be shadowy corners of your behavior that you wouldn’t even notice, but that are limiting your impact — and that of your team.

Seeking help from an advisor or coach is not a sign of weakness; it is the opposite. I’ve hired several throughout the course of my career, long before it ever occurred to me to become one. I’ve learned big things and small things; things I was easily able to change and things I discovered that I should never change. There are even insights I gleaned well over 20 years ago that have remained with me since, and about which I still pause and consider from time to time.


And you don’t have to take it exclusively from me. In this article, Harvard Business Review credits the bubble that many senior leaders build around themselves (or that’s created for them) for creating a vacuum of experience and perspective that both robs them of on-the-ground insights and paves the way for leadership by ego — a debilitating and avoidable development.


Check out these tips on when to hire a coach — either proactively or reactively.


So stop bare-knuckling it on your own. Schedule a Complimentary Clarity Call with me today to identify where to shine the light and spring clean, and what to amplify, so you can level-up your impact — and that of your team.

Tracy Benson

Tracy Benson, Founder and CEO, On the Next Page, provides executive coaching to senior leaders and their teams in Fortune 500 companies across industries, including: healthcare, pharma, energy, technology, consumer goods, manufacturing, hospitality, defense and financial.

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