Leaders need to learn when to go first and when to go last

Knowing when it is your turn, or your time, as a leader is an important skill to master that if done well can have a significant positive effect on those around us.

Leaders need to go first in times when they are needed to model the way forward and set the example for others to follow. Doing so may in inspire trust and confidence in the leader and make others more assured and safe knowing that things are going to be OK. Sometimes, leaders need to go first in apologising when things go wrong, allowing others to see that we are imperfect and will genuinely make mistakes from time to time despite good intentions.

Leaders need to go last when they need to listen first to the views of others, a crucial skills when making decisions. Rather than needing to convince everyone with their point of view first, skilled leaders will take time to learn from and value the thoughts of others before making their own feeling known, when it comes to discussing particular issues and problems. Further to this, good leaders will not seek to hold the spotlight and will seek to support and promote others as experts too.

Two skills that are required here are, first, having the ability and willingness to listen before speaking and, second, having the courage to go first, especially when it places leaders in a position of vulnerability.

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