3 Leadership Insights From Do Lead By @LesMcKeown

Victore_Do_Lead_largeMy boss recently returned from a conference with a couple books in hand designated for moi.  One of them was a nifty little book called Do Lead by Les McKeown.  While it may be small, it is packed with some huge, foundational leadership wisdom.  I’d like to share my top three insights from the book.  If you want more than three, pick up a copy for yourself!

Insight #1- Leadership is about helping others achieve goals

McKeown defines leadership as:

Helping any group of two or more people achieve their common goals.”

In a world where we often call people who are high in eloquence and charisma leaders, it’s important to keep our focus on the result.  McKeown goes so far as to use words like mundane, unspectacular and un-glorious to describe leaders.  Some people who call themselves leaders can talk a good game but can they help a group of people achieve a goal?

Insight #2- Leadership is about the small things

Effective leadership isn’t about focusing on the big things. It’s about consistently doing the myriad small things that eventually make the big things possible.

McKeown told this story in the context of Captain Sullenberger, the pilot who successfully landed a plane in the Hudson River, saving every passenger on board.  His point was that Sully didn’t arrive at this opportunity by accident.  He had countless hours of experience in the skies and tons of hours training that let him to that point.  It was the little things that put him in exact spot to lead his passengers to safety.  Think the little things don’t matter in leadership?  They do!

Insight #3- Leadership is about lifelong learning

Leadership is a continuum, a lifelong learning process, and failure is just as much a part of that process as is success.

It seems like just about every business guru is talking about the importance of failure these days.  This is nothing new and yet, it remains a huge mountain to get over.  How many of us think that in order to be great leaders we need to go through life unscathed?  I love McKeown’s focus on learning from our failures and successes as an essential component to leadership.

As I reflect on Les McKeown’s leadership views I find myself attracted to the way in which he broadens the topic.  Leadership is no longer this thing only a select few incredibly gifted people participate in.  Quite the contrary, we can all participate in the act of leading others with acts both great and small, glamorous and unnoticed.


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