Five Things I Wish I Knew Earlier

I've read a lot of leadership books. But, most of what I've learned about being a leader has been learned in the crucible of every-day life. The reality is -- moving from being a decent leader to being a strong leader isn't that earth shattering. There are small, simple decisions that will help you grow - here are a few I wish I'd known earlier:

1) The Power of the Question

As you build your reputation as a good thinker, it can be more powerful for you to ask a good question than to state your position or make your case. In a roomful of innovators or leaders, there is usually no shortage of opinions – but there can be a shortage of inquisitive listeners. Often asking a good question that brings clarity, illuminates motive, highlights a possible solution proves stronger than disagreeing or sharing your opinion.

2) Wear High Heels

Sure, it sounds like such a stereotypically female idea – but if you feel good in heels, wear them. If you have an important meeting and there’s a particular suit that makes you feel more together – pick that one. If you feel good about yourself, aren’t tugging at your clothes or wish you’d worn something else, you’ll present with more confidence and your strengths will shine.

3) Remove the Weeds

In life there will be people who most frequently criticize you. They rarely like your ideas. They nit pick at petty things. They don’t support your dreams. Keep people close who you know love and support you and also tell you the hard truth about yourself. But, if there’s someone who is perpetually tearing you down, don’t buy the lie that as a Christian you must befriend them and keep inviting them into your circle.

4) Build Others Up

As you succeed, make sure you bring others along with you. Carefully guard against taking credit for someone else’s work – even if they report directly to you. Make sure every team member gets credit for their contributions – help them flourish. This will take nothing away from your accomplishments and will strengthen your teams.

5) Get There Early

Show up to meetings early. I don’t mean 10 minutes early – just a few. Don’t walk in late and by doing so, communicate to those in the room that their time is less valuable than yours.

Perhaps the greatest lesson I wish I'd learned earlier (and a bonus to these five) is to listen to the Still Small Voice as God whispers wisdom I know in my gut is from Him. I'd love to learn from you - post some of the things you wish you'd known earlier.

Penny Hunter


Penny is a marketing consultant and mentor. She's also an author and speaker who is passionate about raising up leaders especially in the business, creative and cause world. Previously, she served as interim VP of Communication at International Justice Mission. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter.



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