How leaders get what they want


I often hear from leaders about things they’d like to have happen – but aren’t happening because they haven’t taken action in some way. These might be things that they want for themselves, for their employees or for their organization, but seem out of reach for them. There are all kinds of stories and excuses about why they don’t get what they want, including but not limited to:

  • I’m not worthy
  • He/she/they don’t like me
  • We don’t have the resources
  • They’ll just say “no”
  • Maybe next year

We may not always get what we want, but it always feels better when we take some action rather than just allowing ourselves to stew about what isn’t possible. Leaders take action, after all, and this includes moving ahead even when it might be uncomfortable.

What would a leader do?

When you’re not getting what you want and feel you deserve, you begin to feel defeated (and maybe just a little victimized?) further ingraining your stuck-ness. This heaviness, a weight that is dragging you down, is impacting your ability to lead at your best. It’s time to take responsibility for whatever is holding you back and ask yourself “What would a leader do?”.

Push past the fear: If you think hard and deep enough, you might find that fear is at the core of your inability to go for what you want. Leaders know when to be bold and courageous. They look deep into their hearts and know what they need to take action even when it scares them. Push past your fear to do what you need to do. The remarkable thing is that when you loosen the blockage to the one thing that’s keeping you stuck, other areas of your leadership will be positively impacted.

Ask: Sometimes, when you’re really stuck asking for what you want isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Often a surprising and simple solution, I’m almost embarrassed to write about it. But when you’re in the seat of waiting for someone else to do something for you that will lift you out of the pit of your victimhood, asking for what you want is a powerful way to move forward, and it often works in your favor.

Just do it: This is my favorite. Sometimes bold, sometimes risky, but if you need something that you aren’t getting, just go for it and ask for forgiveness later. This strategy works best when you aren’t fully dependent on someone else (like your boss) go give permission (like a promotion). But who knows? Your stakeholders just might be waiting to observe your courage and boldness. So get started and go for it!

A leader doesn’t wait for all the stars to be aligned or for someone else to give them what they want. They find their own inner courage to take action and move beyond their fear to get what they want.


I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.