Leadership Series: Part 1 Uncover Your Secret Code to Success

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”

- Bill Gates

  • A middle-manager overcame her fear of public speaking and participated in a panel discussion at an international convention where she met several new colleagues who are now helping her find promotion opportunities in her field;
  • An executive coaching client who has been struggling in a very difficult business setting has found a way to lead his team without having to compromise on his values;
  • And, an artist with whom I’ve been coaching for about two months now is, for the very first time, simultaneous participating in a group show out of town and having her own one-person show nearby.

In the past few months, several of my coaching clients have had dramatic breakthroughs that enabled them to overcome their personal barriers and live up to their potential. What helped these three different clients with totally different goals achieve their success? In this series, I will share a few of these secrets that led to these success stories; the same secrets that great leaders use constantly.

Research and empirical evidence show that it’s not always the most obvious qualities that make the best leaders. Sure, we (in the Western world) expect our leaders to be goal-directed, creative and communicative, open-minded, fair and most of all, productive. All of those are obvious traits, but the best leaders, the ones who are respected and get the job done, have some special traits and work habits that extend beyond the obvious. That’s what my clients uncovered.

Secret One: Open yourself up to those around you. Don't be afraid.

Opening yourself up is a surefire step to success, but it’s often a difficult one to take. It means letting go of your fears and making yourself vulnerable. It means preparing yourself to hear things that you’d rather not admit. It means digging deep and being honest with yourself and others.

If you want to be successful, hone and grow your leadership skills, you must open yourself up to those around you. You do not want to be run by the fear of being evaluated by those who work for you as well as your colleagues and even your superiors. Being open does not detract from the fact that you are a leader. This process gives you great credibility and allows you to gain self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self-actualization.

Another aspect of being open is admitting that you do not have answers or that you have made a mistake. In the corporate culture neither is easy. We are afraid to admit that we do not have answers and we don’t like to admit that we made a mistake. A leader who can admit to both is a strong leader as she shows that it is part of the process to not know and made mistakes. Leaders who give them permission to fail will ultimately go further and accomplish more. Mistakes are stepping stones not stumbling blocks.


  1. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Most of us think of being vulnerable as being destroyable. Being vulnerable and destroyable are not the same thing. One way to be more vulnerable is to tell yourself that you can handle anything- simply anything no matter what.
  2. Be open to feedback. We all have blind spots. It is a welcome relief and a great help to future success if we allow those in our corner to help us identify our weaknesses and support our strengths. You will gain credibility and knowledge about yourself at the same time. One of the easiest ways to get feedback is by setting up situations where informal feedback can be given. Consider inviting someone for coffee or ask for feedback in a social situation or even when seeing each other in the elevator or in the hallway
  3. Be honest with yourself and others. Know what you know and what you don’t know and be okay with either. Acknowledge the good and the bad in your life or better the pleasant and the unpleasant.
  4. Admit that you don't have the answers or made a mistake. When you make a mistake, raise your hand right away. It will be easier to clean it up. Dirty dishes clean easier when done right away.

This Month's Challenge

Ask for feedback from three people including someone who may give you negative feedback.

If you want help in unlocking these secrets and finding your avenue to success, contact me about my coaching services or to book an introductory session.