Intelligent leadership entails intelligent self-management and skillful people management. As such, it presents scores of challenges. Conquering challenges like success-rooted arrogance, burnout, and a fear of change is the essence of leadership. 

Leadership is beautiful. It offers people the opportunity to go above and beyond to improve the careers and lives of reports and peers. It is fulfilling and rewarding in many ways. Intelligent leadership enables you to effect positive change that may benefit humanity one day.

Is it easy? No.


Leadership is challenging, but that’s part of its beauty. 

The challenges of leadership are many. Heading big and small organizations, leaders tackle problems, find solutions, offer solace, empower, motivate, and inspire all the time. That is what they do. They also overcome challenges. Some of these challenges are internal and require overcoming the ego and everything it entails. Others are technical, involving peers, reports, and other interlocutors.

Leadership coaching can help leaders understand and address these challenges. Here is a list of the most common pitfalls that leaders encounter.

Staying Humble and Vulnerable

We all like to think of ourselves as humble human beings. However, it’s not easy to remain humble when you are wildly successful as the leader of a great organization. The temptation to appropriate the success of a company or team is significant. Often, leaders fall into the trap of arrogance.

As I have pointed out in my leadership development books and posts, modesty and humility are positive leadership traits that make leaders relatable, human, and strangely empowering. However, leaders should exercise caution when displaying modesty. Appearing overly humble, indecisive, or lacking in confidence are not desirable outcomes.

Mustering the strength to admit wrongness is the intelligent leader’s way of displaying vulnerability. Such vulnerability is hardly a sign of weakness. It’s the equivalent of authenticity. It builds trust, empowers people, and facilitates honest dialogue.

Avoiding Burnout

Burnout is one of the staunchest and stealthiest enemies of leadership. With too much on their plates, some leaders are tempted to play heroes. Instead of stepping back to replenish their reserves and keep their acts together, they overwork themselves, taking pride in never resting.

Such a path makes burnout inevitable. With their wills to lead gone and their motivation used up, burnt-out leaders are no longer fit to lead.

Take care of yourself and replenish your psychological and mental energy reservoirs. Burnout may sneak up on you unnoticed. Your job is to inspire, motivate, and empower. Start with yourself.

Cultivating Self-Confidence

People tend to see self-confidence and humility as antithetic concepts, but one is not the opposite of the other. In the context of intelligent leadership, self-confidence and humility are symbiotic. One feeds off the other and vice-versa.

Unlike arrogance, self-confidence is healthy. A dose of self-confidence allows leaders to avoid imposter syndrome which cripples leadership.

Being humble means being realistic about your abilities and where credit should go. Being self-confident means the same.

Managing Resistance to Change

Under ideal conditions, leaders are ambassadors and advocates of change.

Executive coaching professionals understand, however, that the title of leader does not exempt anyone from being human, and humans tend to fear change.

We refer to our comfort zones as such for a reason. They are where we feel comfortable. Self-aware leaders recognize this irrational fear of change that is a staple of the human condition and know how to overcome it. Intelligent leaders can manage change, providing clarity throughout the process for the workforce.

Keeping the Workforce Motivated          

Executive coaching focuses on helping leaders find ways to empower, motivate, and inspire themselves. It is up to leaders to use their management skills to convey these benefits to their followers.


Purpose gives us direction and motivation. 

Creating and communicating an overarching organizational vision goes a long way toward giving employees purpose every day. When they understand what their organization wants to achieve and where their place is in the big scheme, they feel more empowered, motivated, and inspired.

Coaching and Mentoring Employees

Sowing the seeds of a coaching-focused culture is the duty and mission of every intelligent leader. A culture that values mentoring can produce good leaders. It can also address one of the fundamental dilemmas of business coaching: leadership succession.

A coaching culture is a safe environment. It attracts skilled talent and leads to sustainable growth. Leaders can support such a culture by creating the right conditions for it to take hold. They can also make sure they hear, see, and appreciate every team member by listening actively and paying attention.

Leadership is not a title. It is a choice and an opportunity to make a difference. As everything worth doing, it entails challenges, but overcoming these challenges is part of its beauty.


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