Stand On The Shoulders Of Others

A trait I often see in weak leaders is that they’re afraid to ask for help. They don’t want to be seen as needing help from anyone.

Leading in this way is dangerous. We can’t lead alone.

We must stand on the shoulders of others who have gone before us.

We need others to become great

Leading Alone Isn’t Worth It

Leading alone is a bad idea. I hope you know that.

We run into all sorts of trouble when we decide we don’t need anyone else. Emotional turmoil to exhaustion to depression, these are the results of deciding to be a one-man show.

We also run into problems in the area of knowledge.

I built my talents on the shoulders of someone else’s talent.
–Michael Jordan

I know I don’t know everything there is to know about leadership. And, if that’s the case, I know you don’t know everything there is to know about leadership either.

There’s no way any one person can have that kind of knowledge. It just isn’t possible.

And this is what makes leading alone not worth it.

Stand On The Shoulders Of Others

Here’s where the idea of standing on the shoulders of others comes into play.

I’m not saying you’re going to be taking advantage of others. No, no, no. I don’t want you to get that idea.

Rather, by standing on the shoulders of others, you’re building upon the wisdom they’ve bestowed upon you.

What does this look like? It looks like:

You being willing to be mentored by someone wiser than you: We’re not really that smart. We have a limited scope of expertise. But, by standing on the shoulders of a mentor, you can then gain the benefit of the trials and tribulations they’ve gone through. You get the wisdom without the trouble.

You reading great books, listening to inspirational podcasts, and attending courses: Maybe you don’t know of anyone that can mentor you. Don’t be discouraged. You can be mentored and stand on the shoulders of those who have shared their leadership insights through books, podcasts, courses, and more.

You asking great questions: To be honest, one of the reasons I started up The Answers From Leadership Podcast is because I wanted to ask questions of leaders I may not have had the opportunity to otherwise. I know you can’t grow as a leader without being willing to ask questions of other leaders. Once again, this is because they have life and leadership experiences I (and you) don’t have. Pick the brain of a leader today.

Don’t be one of those leaders who refuses to get help. You’ll wind up in a nasty place.

Instead, be willing to suck it up and stand on the shoulders of others. Allow previous leaders and mentors to lift you up to new heights.

Question: Are you standing on the shoulders of other leaders? Why or why not? Let’s share our stories in the comment section below.

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

  • Seems like each new generation falls into the trap of thinking they know more than the previous. Know how much we learn and grow we will always have biases and blind spots to deceive us. it really is great to allow other to speak into our lives. And they don’t have to always be older. –

    For me I am always reading good books and good blogs (this one included). I also have several Pastor friends I know I can go to when I get stuck.

    • That it seems Jon. That is until the generation ages and realizes how much they’ve missed out on.

    • Great point about the wise ones not always being older. I’ve definitely let pride get in the way of listening to those who might be younger but more experienced. I’m working to get out of that habit, there’s so much to learn.

  • Definitely, through my fellow peers in my industry, and through writers like yourself Joseph, because we cannot and should not do this thing called leadership alone.

    Be well!

    • I appreciate the kind words Mike. I’m honored that you’re finding value in what I do and are able to stand on that.