Lucky Leaders


by Kevin Eikenberry

Oftentimes people look at others who appear to have gained stature or success and explain their results as “luck.” While leaders are rarely as popular or visible as rock or movie stars, more than once I’ve heard people talk about a leaders as being lucky.

They started at the right company . . . went to the right school . . . met the right people . . . the list goes on.

Here’s my perspective: luck is loser language. Explaining things others achieve as luck is a way to justify why you didn’t succeed. The best definition of luck that I’ve ever seen is an acrostic.


If you simply thought about doing that – laboring under correct knowledge – your success as a leader would soar. It implies that becoming (and being) an effective leader is work. It also reminds us to gain the knowledge (and skills) we need from the right sources – practicing the wrong skills or at the wrong time or in the wrong ways won’t lead to success or “luck.”

But I want to take you a bit further today.

Taking the idea of the acrostic to spell the word, here’s how leaders can get lucky.

Understand more
Create a team
Know you don’t know it all

Let me explain what I mean, and then challenge you with some questions for your application. Because, you want more luck too, don’t you?

Listen. The best leaders are great listeners. They listen to their teams, their peers and their Customers. They listen to learn. They listen to acknowledge. They listen to show respect and build relationships. They know that one of the best ways to influence others is by listening first.

– How effective are you as a listening leader?
– Is your first response to talk, or listen?

Understand more. Leaders realize they have to see the world differently and proactively seek a new viewpoint on things around them. The best leaders actively work to understand the world around them better. This includes understanding human behavior, the marketplace, their industry, their community and a hundred other things. It is hard work to find ways to build these perspectives and gain this understanding.

– What information inputs do you use?
– Who do you talk to?
– Are they giving you the understanding and perspective you need to see the bigger picture for your organization, team and yourself?

Create a team. There may be a rebel without a cause, but there is no leader without a team. No one can do it all themselves, and the best leaders know that. The leaders that you see making a big difference are doing it with a team they have selected, created and nurtured. The best leaders know that their team is the best possible leverage they could have – and that with their team excelling much more can be achieved.

– How much time are you investing in your team?
– What are you doing to help your team succeed?
– Does your time and effort invested correlate with your belief in the value of these activities?

Know you don’t know it all. The best leaders are healthily humble – they know what they don’t know, aren’t ashamed of it, and are ready to learn. The best leaders are constantly learning because they know that successful leading isn’t a destination – you never arrive. This learning mindset not only helps the leader personally, it sends the right message and sets the right example for those they lead.

– Would people call you humble? If not, why not?
– What skills are you intentionally trying to learn now?
– Are you clear on your weaknesses?

Becoming a highly effective leader doesn’t require the “Luck of the Irish” or “counting your lucky stars”. Becoming an effective leader is available to you if you are willing to do the work necessary. Call it “making your luck” if you wish, but I’d rather call it making a bigger difference in the world – which is what Remarkable Leaders do.

It’s your lucky day! Would you like $916.25 of leadership development resources as my gift to you? If so, learn more here:

photo credit: billaday via photopin cc