10 Leadership Lessons Learned From My Blog Commenters

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from blogging and reading other people’s blogs, it’s that insight doesn’t come only from the author. Many times the comment section is full of wisdom and knowledge about leadership.

Image by Ian Mottoo

Image by Ian Muttoo

The community on this site is very active and it can be easy to miss some of the great content shared within the comments. Today, I want to take time and share 10 leadership lessons that commenters on the blog have shared in the comment section.

1. Self confidence is contagious to a team. Leaders must have confidence in their ability to lead (make decisions, delegate, correct, advise, teach, mentor, train, motivate, etc). Amazing things happen because of confidence. And, it’s easy to prove. Walk into a room full of people with your head up and your shoulders back. Walk in as if you are in charge and watch people sit up. It’s almost funny.
Charles Hutchinson

Charles gave excellent advice on why self confidence is vital to great leadership. It makes people sit up and pay attention. Having self confidence also sends a message to people: You mean business!

2. The beauty of failure is that it’s a reminder that you are human. A human with a mission. That’s the question at the end of the day. Is my attempt connected to my mission, vision, strengths, passion, and purpose? Questions like: Am I being selfish? ignorant? self-dependent? or rebellious? This answers those 4 questions.
Josque Molina

Josque shared that failure is a chance to learn more about ourselves. When failure comes, if we’re willing, we can evaluate the failure and discover what we’re really saying is important.

3. Receiving kind words and emails is nice and it encourages me, However, if I counted on those nuggets of thanks I would be at rock bottom. I walked into a building the other day and a Soldier approached. She said Staff Sergeant “My fiance says your the greatest leader he has ever worked with”. If she had never said anything I never would have known my influence now extended to her.

I said that to relay a story and not build myself up. I am not great by any means; I am simply driven, committed, and passionate.
TJ Trent

You can see words of affirmation and appreciation are vital but they’re not everything. Don’t count on the applause of others to keep you going.

4. I focus on my plan going forward. If things aren’t going well, or I’m just tired, I try to create a way to “see” my way out of it. It might be reminding myself that things like this are only for a season – or reminding myself of things that seemed insurmountable in the past but worked out fine.
Tom Dixon

We can see here that creating a good mental picture in our head is important. It allows us to shift from feeling bad about our situation to finding solutions.

5. I was not really successful until I shifted my mindset to “crowdsoucing” my mentors – I realized that no one person had all the answers, and I also discovered that I had been expecting too much one-on-one attention.

Books & podcasts also became my best friends – these resources also helped to enrich my face-to-face conversations.

Lastly, always look for how you can add value to your mentor(s).
Jonathan Harrison

We can see Jonathan’s finding mentors everywhere. He’s not looking only for local mentors but mentors in books, audio, blogs, etc. Don’t forget your mentors can be people you’ve never met.

6. It’s kind of ironic, but the best tip I have for adaptation is realizing that all “customers” are seeking the same few things out of any interaction. Generally speaking (and off the cuff), I think people want to feel like they’ve been understood and that you’re dedicated to meeting their needs and offering them the benefit of your expertise. Once you realize that this is a universal principle, you can adjust and apply your experiences to any new challenge. It’s how I’ve moved from pitch sales to food service to funeral service and now am moving into higher education with small periods of adjustment and without (dramatically) missing a beat.
Justin Buck

Justin’s found a key to leadership. Most people are seeking the same results from interactions. Are you offering: a sense of understanding, dedication, or your expertise? If not, you might want to start following Justin’s insights.

7. One of the best ways for new leaders to become better leaders is to do “reverse interviews.” Take trusted, key players who know what’s going on out to lunch and ask, “If you were in my shoes, what would you do?” You can also take other leaders from other organizations out to lunch and ask the same question. The insights and wisdom you’ll gain from both groups is amazing!
Kent Julian

Did you catch what Kent does here? You can increase your leadership ability by asking others to honestly evaluate how you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to ask those you’re leading to give an honest evaluation. You will get insights into increasing your leadership skill.

8. Here’s something I realized in school which is semi-related. I took a course on electronic music and we would compose pieces to play to the class regularly. Inevitably, everyone would be disappointed with what they did because they were comparing their piece with what they envisioned in their head. However, the class just heard the piece. So most of the time the class would love it – because they didn’t see the standard of perfection that you had in your head. They just saw reality.
Loren Pinilis

We can often hold ourselves to higher standards than others. While it’s great to hold ourselves to these higher standards, be willing to realize even when your work doesn’t live up to your expectations others are inspired by your work.

9. Stay Passionate because your team is looking to you for the passion and motivation to keep moving forward.
Lauren Phelps

Lauren shared this unconventional leadership tip and I thought it was fantastic. Our passion seeps out of us and into our team. We’ve got to keep the level of passion high if we want our teams to be excited and willing to do the difficult work.

10. Other ways? How about also sharing some grown-up things about yourself with your team?

– I was really scared about that, and your input was so helpful.

– I’m pretty upset about this, but…

– I had those same challenges, and …
Mike Loomis

Mike shared this on the blog post It’s Time To Start Using Adult Language. His suggestions on ways to use adult language in a conversation was great. He thinks it’s great to share our experiences and to share our feelings with our team. Amazing advice.

Can you see the value of engaging in the comments of a blog? There’s hundreds of thousands of people out there sharing their wisdom through commenting.

Be willing to dive into the comment sections of your favorite blogs and engage the commenters. You may be surprised at the leadership insights you’ll discover!

Question: What leadership insights have you discovered from the comment section of a blog? Please share these discoveries in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Recently I posted about how men seem to get more excited about football than they do about church and Vince responded by saying:

    “Men need something to do together (note you were not playing football alone in your inset picture). I’m talking about something both spiritual as well as mundane at the same time – build story and create comraderie and fraternity among men. This means intentionally working together to make it happen. Its a long term venture that requires patience, grace and perseverance.”

    This was something that I hadn’t thought of and after reading his comment I came to the conclusion that he was dead on. I’m so grateful for people like Vince who not only take the time to comment but really add something meaningful to the conversation.

    Joe, I really like the fact that you took a blog post to honor the input of the commenters. I think the best bloggers out there, like you, realize that they don’t have all the answers. It’s more about conversation than it is about telling everyone one what they should do.

    • Caleb, Vince’s comment is pretty profound. I love it when our commenters challenge us to dig a bit deeper and think a bit wider.

  • Kent’s comment is super-powerful – sometimes leaders (especially more introverted one) can get so caught up with the ideas in their head, that perspective is lost. The question Kent poses is insightful on two accounts: 1. It provides perspective from another viewpoint, and 2. It provides possible solutions that the leader might not have considered (or considered and discarded).

    What a great post Joe!

    I have learned from Dan Black about the importance of support and encouraging comments. He even offered to buy a Ferrari from my site until he discovered that it was not an affiliate link – THAT is support!

    • Jon, I loved Kent’s comment as well. It shows the value of being mentored by others and taking in advice from outside sources.

      It’s great to hear you enjoyed the post. I think sharing what we’ve learned from others has to be done much more often than it has been done. It’s a great way to get different ideas and thoughts into the world.

  • These are some great insights! One of the things I love most about the Internet (surprising, I know, that cat videos doesn’t make my top 5) is that it connects people and ideas. We are all equipping each other to grow and learn– from a thousand different points on the globe!

    • Really Justin, no cat videos? Come on man! Aren’t they top on everyone’s list?

  • Joe,

    It was an honor to be mentioned on your blog, thanks! I have also learned to embrace the truth from those I lead. It may hurt sometimes but I need NO MEN more than YES MEN.

    • My pleasure TJ. You added great wisdom to the conversation.

      Ah yes, we all need No Men in our lives. They help to curb our impulses and guide us in directions we wouldn’t have thought to go.

  • Great post idea Joe! I gain golden nuggets of wisdom and insights from the comments on my blog. It’s great to get other peoples idea, thoughts, and opinions on a particular topic.

    • Thanks Dan. I was pouring over the comments and realized just how much wisdom was contained there.

  • So glad you shared these comments, there is much wisdom there!

    • TC, my pleasure. There’s a wealth of knowledge within the comments section. Most times it’s better than the posts!

      • I hear ya, comments can be rich with wisdom!

  • K’Lee Banks

    Thanks for a great collection of wisdom! This is an area that I tend to neglect – I read comments, but have not been good about replying; a habit I must change!

    I’m not sure if this is specific to leadership, though leaders certainly do have cause to worry at times – but on a recent post I wrote asking the question “Why Do We Worry?”, Gen responded:

    “K.Lee this is a great topic. I have been studying it for the last few
    months and just wanted to add to what you have written here. The reason
    that we worry most of the time is that we have become “addicted” to the
    emotions and hormones it produces in our body. We stay at that
    constant state and we find we get stuck in the loop.

    One of the best ways to end this loop is to realize that you are
    worrying and tell yourself that you will choose to think something
    different. Be consistent with changing your thought process whenever
    you catch yourself worrying and soon you will be able to be worry-free.
    Replace the worry with something happy and you will start
    to do your body some real good. As those hormones usually are the
    ones that create good health.”

    • K’Lee, that’s a great insight from one of your readers. I think habits like worrying and complaining are linked together in the emotional rollercoaster high of attention. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Thanks for the reminder that engagement is so important. So many times we just take and run, without giving back via comments. You are very good at engaging our readers, and you’re reaping the wisdom from it as well. Thanks for sharing it!

    • My pleasure LaRae. The comment section is where the real magic is.

  • Hi Joseph, These are really good comments but the one that stood out to me the most as a leader is BEING VULNERABLE WITH YOUR TEAM. Wow, that last one was right on the money. I think of how many organizations I’ve worked with that experience such RAPID turnover because their managers refuse to be human beings with their people. Great thoughts!

    • Bryan, vulnerability is a huge asset to any leader leading a group of people. Opening up and showing them they’re not alone and that you struggle as well can bring a team together quicker than anything else. How are you being vulnerable with your team?

  • Hi Joe,

    This was a great acknowledgement of the people who leave comments at your blog. I have to agree with you, my friend. As you said, real value also comes from the huge amounts of wisdom that readers share at our blog posts through commenting.

    From the list you shared, I can appreciate TJ Trent’s comment and your response to it. It reminded me of something related, which is that even when other people might not be giving us praise, there is an inner strength within us, which when alive, doesn’t need praise. Having a strong sense of self is related to this.

    Thank you.

    • Thanks Hiten. Going through the comments on this blog post, TJ’s comment seemed to really hit home with a lot of the readers.

  • It’s so cool to be mentioned here Joe, thank you. I really appreciate you and your community.

    I have to say that #3 from TJ Trent really rocked me. To have someone validate you as a leader to someone else is awesome — and then to have that person actually approach you and tell you, what an impact! It’s further proof that people are encouraged (and lives changed) when leaders do what they are called to do — lead.

    • Thanks Charles. Your comment that I featured was great. It was my pleasure to mention you.

  • Great idea to post comments, Joe.

    • Thanks Dan. I thought it would be interesting to recognize some (but not all) of the people who have brought additional value to the blog.

  • I am really impressed with your points and i feel that engagement is the key to be successful in blog commenting as it creates an impression about you on the admin that you are a genuine guy who is here to get engaged int eh discussion and not spam over here.

  • Glad to be a part of the discussion here, Joe…thanks for including my comment. Have a great week!

    • It’s my pleasure Tom. You’ve been a great source of inspiration through the comments you’ve left.

  • This is such a great post, Joe. I have learned so much from my blogging community, and it’s important for us all to stop and take inventory of those things from time to time. I really appreciate this encouragement.

    • Thanks Jon. I knew there was wisdom in the comments and wanted to share some of it.

  • I continue to be amazed and impressed with the humility of successful bloggers. I have come from a generation where the leaders and bosses ‘had all the answers.’ Now we see these online leaders who are humble servant leaders and who learn from those they lead. It’s beautiful. I recall the story of those who ‘stayed back guarding the stuff’ and got the same reward as those on the front lines who did the actual fighting. The story in I Samuel 30:23-25. Amazing. The connection I’m seeing is those who write the posts, as those who respond or comment on the posts and influence from the bottom. I think it’s a powerful principle where this is not taken as a threat. But it’s encouraged, welcomed, and invited with grace. Love it. Thanks, Joe for taking the lead as a humble leader.

    • It’s a great swing to see, huh Arlen? When we look back and see the true, great leader in the Bible, we can see it was all about humility and humbleness. The drive for money and to be seen as a success changed it quite a bit but now we’ realizing the importance in getting back to basics.

  • Malik Ashar Azeem

    I see
    the greatest contents on your blog and I absolutely love reading them.

  • 40% of my content is inspired by comments or emails from readers. It only makes sense that if your audience is asking questions or talking about something, that means they want to discuss it.

    • Awesome Matt. That’s the kind of things we should all pay attention to!