The top 10 things you’re resisting that will make you a better leader


There are certain patterns of resistance I’ve noticed in the leaders I’ve worked with that are really good at their craft – but have the potential to be great. These behaviors that leaders resist can increase their potential to lead at the top of their game. Perhaps as you read through the list, you’ll notice some of your own resistance poking through as you tell yourself:

  • “I don’t have time.”
  • “It’s not as important as meeting our goals.”
  • “What will they (my boss, my employees, my peers) think?”
  • “Tried that once, and it didn’t help me.”

Listen to those inner voices of resistance. They might be telling you that it’s time to stop resisting and start doing something different. So without further ado, Here are the top 10 things you may have been resisting that can help you to become a better leader (in no particular order):


  1. Making time to think: Most leaders spend their days “doing”. You’ll be a better leader if you delegate some of the doing and make time to think about your organizational vision, values, decisions, what’s going well, and what could go even better. Block out regular time to stop “doing” and start “being” a better leader!


  2. Developing relationships: I have worked with a great leader who told me he spent almost all of his time developing relationships with his stakeholders. He set the bar for his own staff to realize just how important relationships were to their ability to lead others. Start now to be intentional about reaching out to your stakeholders!


  3. Having actual conversations: When was the last time you slowed down enough to have a real conversation with your team, your boss, or your peers? This conversation is the kind where you aren’t doing all the talking and you’re listening to what matters to them. Ask what others think and listen to them!


  4. Taking a break: Breaks from your daily work need to be varied: short, long, at work, away from work. Take a 10 minute walk in the middle of the day. Take ALL of your vacation time. Join a local organization. Help to feed the poor. Hang out with people you like and love. Breaks away from work will rejuvenate you!


  5. Coaching and developing the team: You need to do this because it’s part of your job, even if it’s not written in your job description. Every one-on-one status meeting you have with your direct reports should include some intentional coaching and development. This not only helps your team members, it helps you and your organization!


  6. Exercising, eating better, sleeping more: I know you might not see how these things will make you a better leader, but when you exercise, eat well and get enough sleep you’ll have more energy for your day and for the long haul. Leading people takes a lot energy!


  7. Turning off devices: Seriously, do you really think that the world will come to end if you turn off your cell phone when you’re having dinner with your family? When you’re watching your kid’s soccer game? When you’re deep in conversation with someone? Your distraction is annoying and harmful to your relationships!


  8. Developing a personal vision and plan: What kind of leader do you want to be a year from now or five years from now? What do you want your followers to say about you when you step out the door? What do you need to start doing to get there? Spend some time making a plan for being a better leader!


  9. Praising employees: Don’t worry about your employees getting “too big for their britches” – they need to know what’s going right every bit (maybe more) than what’s going wrong. Be intentional and be specific and expressing your thanks for what they’re doing well. They can’t function on criticism alone!


  10. Delegating more: You’re not the only person who can do whatever you’re doing. Every leader I know who has people reporting to them can delegate more. When done well, it frees up time to do almost everything on the list above!


The best leaders pay attention to the things they’ve been resisting and courageously make them daily habits. Choose one or two of the above to begin with , get started, and pay attention to the difference it makes for your leadership.


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.

4 comments on “The top 10 things you’re resisting that will make you a better leader

  1. All of these are great… although I have to admit that I was never good at #6 until I found Fitbit & decided to start walking. I think delegation is one of the hardest things for a lot of new leaders to learn; it was the one thing I had to force myself to get comfortable with.

  2. Hi Mitch,

    Good for you for finding a way that works to get some exercise. Re: delegation: learning to do it well is often a lifelong quest for people leaders. Just when you think you have it nailed, you get a promotion and have to delegate things that aren’t in your best interest any longer. Or you find that ego sneaking up on you that says things like, “I’m the only one who can do this”, or “Everyone else is too busy”.

  3. Dear Mary ma’am I’m a budding entrepreneur and recently started working with a team of mine.

    Pursuing MBA and connected with many business owners but what I think is that the articles like these makes my day and gives a great boost in my energy level when it comes to go positive with everything to grow my relationship with everyone.

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