The Toughest Person to Lead

April 21, 2015

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

Meet Deb


There is someone in your organization who is a constant challenge to you as a leader. You know this person well. Sometimes, they have a bad attitude, and it affects the team. Their ego can be abrasive, and when reprimanded, their pride refuses to acquiesce to the idea that they may, quite possibly, be wrong about something. In their zeal, they push forward without proper planning; and then when things don’t work, they point the finger at the closest subordinate. They won’t listen to ideas outside their own, and they won’t allow others to lead in the areas of their strengths.

You may find this person lazy at times, not to mention obnoxious and annoying. You often have discussions with them about their behavior, but they do not listen. They know they have bad habits, but they refuse to change them.

You say to yourself, “This is the toughest person to lead. They are impossible!”

And you are right.

Who is this person?

The fact is, as my mentor John C. Maxwell points out in his book Leadership Gold, the toughest person to lead is…YOU!

This is why wise leaders will set up a system of leadership. A system will help lead us when we can’t lead ourselves.

A system of leadership has these components.

Principles – A wise leader has set principles – lines they will not cross. Those principles lead the leader when the leader is tempted not to lead himself. They provide a solid foundation for decision-making.

Accountability – Maybe you are a CEO or business owner. You are your own boss, right? In theory, this sounds great, but make yourself accountable to the Board, to your employees, and to your leadership team. Ask them to hold you accountable to goals and standards.

Schedule – An effective leader sets a schedule and then allows that schedule to control actions. A schedule can keep you on track when you are tempted to digress.

Service – Be sure to set time in your schedule on a weekly basis to serve and seek the advice of others. Serving others takes us outside our posh corner office and into the real world. If you’ve ever seen the TV show Undercover Bosses, you know this can be a very enlightening (and, yes, humbling) leadership experience.


Do you have a system of leadership to control the toughest person you have to lead?