Leadership 2020 Newsletter: Leadership by subtraction, not addition

– Submitted by a past Leadership 2020 participant 

I often find that a lot of writing about leadership practices list all the things that leaders should do to be successful. But all that writing often contradicts each other—some say leaders should be assertive and outgoing, others say leaders should be reflective and focus on listening.

For that reason, this short article was a refreshing piece of reading. It questions whether leadership is merely a composite of necessary characteristics or, instead, is the ability to recognize and avoid the things that often hold leaders back. Maybe leadership is less doing the right thing, and more not doing the wrong thing.

The authors—all of them speakers at a New York leadership conference—list four things that leaders should look out for and avoid. Of course, this isn’t all it takes to be a good leader, but it offered a new way of thinking about what my leadership could look like.