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Leadership Confessions #1: Nails, problem solving and what got you here won’t get you there

Updated: Jan 26, 2023



“When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail!”

Or how sometimes our greatest gifts stand in the way of achieving success or stepping up as leaders


As a leader, my passion and talent for problem solving undoubtedly helped me drive for success at the beginning of my career, when the results of the company I was in charge of were depending on me directly being part of solutions.


We were a small team and I had an instrumental role in shaping plans, pushing projects and actively participating in every solution we were designing and taking to market. Some of the tasks I was spending my energy on seem funny now but back then I had no doubt about doing the right thing with my time. Or if otherwise, I don’t remember today... the beauty of blindspots or selective memory.

It felt good to be in the middle of the battle, to feel fast and sharp, thinking 3 steps ahead and creating tons of avenues for every challenge. Control and problem solving can be an addictive cocktail.


In my transition to a more senior role it took me a while to really get this: “The fallacy of adding too much value is that by adding value you kill the ownership of other people's ideas. When you add to the idea it no longer feels like it is their idea.” writes Marshall Goldsmith in “What got you here won’t get you there”.

Scaling empowered teams means you bring people in the room that are smarter than you and let them do the job they do best. Getting out of the way, getting to the balcony

and seeing what is the right problem for you to solve as a leader is not an easy shift to make, especially when you got so used to be on the dance floor and you fail to notice the strengths that don’t serve you anymore.


Inquiry time:

  • How are your strengths serving you?

  • What’s the higher level problem you should solve?

  • What is the behavioral shift that could 10x your impact as a leader?




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