Most of my career has been in leadership roles -- and I've made a lot of mistakes. I mean, a lot of mistakes. More than I can count.

I've learned about leadership the hard way. I've learned the most about leading by doing it the wrong way.

I can still remember when I first hit the management track. My very first thought? "Finally, I don't have to be 'on' all day!"

I couldn't have been more wrong.

So with that in mind, here are some things I once forgot, and I'm sure others have too at some point in their careers.

1. Some managers forget what it's like to follow.

Like me, once some managers hit the leadership ranks they think they've made it. That all they have to do is give orders and watch others work.

True leaders remember the difficulties of being in the passenger seat. The frustration of receiving next to impossible assignments. And the disappointment when you don't complete that impossible assignment.

Inspirational leaders exhibit understanding when committing to, and asking their teams to do things.

2. Some managers forget they can be wrong.

It's easy to think you're always right when you're responsible for calling the shots. But being responsible isn't the same thing as being right.

Inspirational leaders know that those closest to the situation usually have the best answers. They tap into this. They appreciate this.

3. Some managers forget that it's hard to work.

I once worked for a leader that you had no idea what they did all day. This leader was the first to show you the newest viral video or to talk for hours about anything other than work.

Ironically, this same leader was first to point out the slothfulness of their team.

Motivational leaders know that their title isn't a get out of work free card. That increased responsibility equals increased work. That they should be one of the hardest workers on the team.

4. Some managers forget to take responsibility.

Once my team failed and I took responsibility - along with my team - for the failure.

In doing so, my senior leader told me I'd never amount to any type of "executive leader" because of it.

I can still hear the parting words: "True leaders hold their teams accountable for failure; they don't claim equal credit for it."

Respectfully, I disagree.

Emulation-worthy leaders should engage in the fight. They may not have their oar in the water, but they are at the helm of the boat. Inspirational leaders are equally responsible for the success or failure of their team.

5. Some managers forget to stay grounded.

This is the easiest of all to forget, and the hardest to keep remembering. That's because even the slightest bit of authority goes to people's heads.

Inspirational leaders keep their heads out of the clouds.

They know when they distance themselves from their team and their customers, they lose their grasp of reality. And when you lose grasp of reality, you lose your ability to inspire and lead.

The same for any of these points. They're easy to forget, but critical to remember. That is, if you want to be known as an inspirational leader.

Published on: Aug 31, 2017