10 Leadership Thoughts from the Trenches


Let me share a few Leadership Thoughts from the Trenches that I will be trying to apply in 2023.  

2022 and the years before have been full of blessings, adventures, learnings and challenges - all of which I have tried to use as fodder for learning and fuel for growth (but, certainly not always successfully).

These aren’t resolutions - they are guideposts and I promise I will fall far short of sticking to all of them all the time.

If you think they are helpful, read and use them.  If not, no worries.  No guideposts apply to everyone.


Some things will go well

  • Enjoy it when they do 
  • Try to understand why they are going well and what you can do to keep them going well
  • Don’t assume they will continue going well, be prepared for change
  • Acknowledge those who contributed and share the credit.
  • Remember that luck plays a part
  • Find the lessons



Sometimes things will go bad

  • Sometimes really bad
  • Don’t try to ignore and pretend it will fix itself
  • Try to understand why they are going bad and what you can do to turn things around
  • Make the changes you think are needed, measure results and adjust if necessary
  • Find the lessons & share them
  • Before pointing a blaming finger, think carefully.  Was there a bad intention or wilful neglect?  None of us are perfect and all of us make mistakes
  • But, we all still need to be accountable and responsible
  • As leaders we need to lead in accountability and responsibility
  • If major corrective action needs to be taken, take it. You can’t cross a chasm in small steps
  • Remember that luck plays a part



Love to laugh

  • Especially at yourself
  • Gravitate to work, people, situations and activities that exude laughter and joy
  • When you are too miserable and sad to laugh, it is OK.  That is life, but don’t stay there any longer than you have to.  Remember, what you focus on will expand so let go of your misery and find a way to embrace laughter and joy



Learning don’t need Schools

  • Everyone of us is in a full time school called life.  It is full of lessons and the lessons are full of learning if we are open to it
  • Institutional education is important - but so is the education we get from everyday life and the people in it - including from those with no institutional education
  • Just because you have spent more years in an educational institution doesn’t make you smarter than someone who has spent less time (or none).  This is true even if the institution is supposedly famous like Stanford or Harvard
  • Be open to learning - you will find you can learn amazing things from all sorts of people and events, if you are humble enough to be open to it
  • Grammar is important - communication is more important.  Don’t lose the message to focus on grammar.  Life  don’t need that  Remember, you may be listening to someone for whom English is their third or fourth language - don’t let grammar stop you from learning the wisdom in the message.
  • The best learning is a two-way street, learning with and from each other
  • If you won’t take a risk, make a mistake (and own it) you will deprive yourself of many great learning opportunities



Be Humble

  • Being important is hard work and generally a waste of good time and energy
  • Each of us has something to offer, and something to learn.  Focus on that, not on yourself
  • At work (and in life) remember that you can learn as much (sometimes more) from those below you on the org chart than you can learn from those above you



Contribute and Add Value

  • What can you do that adds value for others and makes the world and the lives of people in it better?
  • Ask that question often, and act on the answer
  • You will be a more valuable employee, a better partner and a happier person
  • Learn to get more by giving more



Copy the Joy of Children

  • Who doesn’t marvel at the joy of children as they laugh, run and play?
  • It doesn’t matter if they are from the wealthiest or the poorest families - happy, joyous playing children are an inspiration
  • Finding joy and living in it are not easy (I am actually terrible at it), but it is worth the effort to try



Share Credit and take blame

  • When things go well, share the credit and acknowledge others who helped make it happen.  To over-credit and over-acknowledge is not a bad thing
  • It actually makes you look better and it surely makes you feel better
  • When things go wrong, own your share of the blame, maybe even more.  As a leader we are responsible.
  • Learn lessons from all of it



Follow and encourage passion and energy

  • Live with passion and bring passion to your work and life
  • If you can’t find significant passion in the work you are doing, then you really need to find different work
  • Recognize energy and passion in others. Acknowledge and reward it.
  • But, don’t fail to help guide and channel it sometimes too.



Stay Curious

  • Ask questions
  • Listen, really listen, to the answers
  • Always be open to learn more and shift your perspectives
  • Encourage curiosity in children and colleagues.  It keeps life interesting, yours and theirs.


If you enjoyed this, you may want to read 10 Rules for Being Human.  It is passed down from ancient Sanskrit - this is a link to a copy of it.  It is so full of wisdom.

Thanks for reading,

Wayne Dunn

Managing Director & Co-Founder


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