Six Threats Every Leader Will Face

The legendary bare-knuckles boxing champion John L. Sullivan was confronted by a runt of a man who, suffering from the effects of too much drink, challenged the burly champion to a fight. Sullivan, who once battled toe-to-toe with an opponent for 75 rounds, growled, "Listen, you, if you hit me just once -- and I find out about it ..." The Champ didn't need to finish the sentence!

Hang around in leadership long enough and you will have your share of challenges and threats. While they may not be physical in nature, threats to your leadership and how you handle them is important. Some threats are obvious while others can seem rather innocent. If left unchecked they can threaten your effectiveness going forward.

Identifying the threats to your leadership is helpful if you are going to succeed. Here are six common ones. Which one is the most pressing to you?

The threat against your values.

Your values and character are the cornerstones of your leadership. Threats against your character will come and how you deal with it will make you or break you. Don’t take threats to your values lightly. Be diligent and accountable. Make sure that your values are clear and non-negotiable.

The threat against your time.

One of the largest challenges you will face as a leader is time management. If you are not intentional about the priorities of your day or take ownership of your time then someone else will. If something is a priority to you then it should be a priority in your schedule. From family, children, work, deadlines, meetings, etc…set your pace, set your priorities, and stick to it.

The threat against your expectations.

Expectations fuel your dreams and goals. Threats to your expectations surface when people see the obstacles and not the opportunities. Threats to your leadership occur when people opt for what’s safe instead of what’s hard. Bring these people up to your level of expectations if you can but never retreat.

The threat against your personal growth and development.

If you are not growing as a leader you are in decline as a leader. Personal growth and development is fundamental to good leadership. When you commit to grow and develop it will expand your horizons and will open up a whole new arena of possibilities. Never stop growing.

The threat against your health.

Leaders are busy and are often under a great deal of stress. Don’t allow the responsibilities of your leadership to cause you to neglect your health. A healthy diet with exercise is important not only to your physical health but it will keep you refreshed mentally and emotionally. In addition, your spiritual health is not one to neglect either. When you can tap in to the inspiration that your faith provides it can replenish your heart and mind. Healthy leaders are productive leaders.

The threat against yourself

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Often it’s not the jerk down the hall that’s my greatest threat- it’s the one in the mirror. When my body is tired and my attitude stinks then the potential to make a mess of things is magnified. Can you relate? As you work on the fundamentals of your leadership remember that first and foremost it’s an inside job. Before you can lead others you must learn to lead yourself.

© 2016 Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership speaker, columnist, and author. A Lowcountry resident, Doug is available to speak for your civic, business, or church group. To read more visit or email at

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