Projected Leadership


I was a psych major in college and any good or bad psych major knows the infamous Sigmund Freud.

One of the staples of a good Freudian theorist is the concept of projection.

Basically, how you feel (anger, sadness, etc.) about your parents, authorities, other people in life, you will eventually project any trauma or feelings on people that have nothing to do with those that have traumatized you or had a deep impact.

I counseled youth for my first few years out of college. I saw projection first hand. 

A couple of years later, I started working in a corporate environment and I began to see the same tendencies from people. If you had a bad experience with a leader (or shall we call them managers, since they were managing people rather than leading them), you would project those thoughts and feelings onto other leaders. Mistrust or trust was left in the wake of good leaders, or immature people that had gotten promoted for political purposes or because they were good at their entry level job. 

It got me thinking.

What about positive projection?

If I truly wanted to make an impact on people and develop future leaders, how was I projecting my leadership?

Projected Leadership. This is not the “fake it till you make it” blog post. This is “are you authentic and willing to always grow” blog post. Once you take that promotion or you are honing your leadership skills, how are you spreading your influence? How are you making better leaders around you? What do you spend your time thinking about as a leader? Are you intentional in every interaction with people that work for you, with you, and that you work for? 

Iron sharpens Iron. When we project solid leadership, people learn and develop merely by how we operate and behave in a consistent manner. We show our values and what we believe about people day in and day out of being a leader.

Projected leadership takes the time to be self-aware of our faults and take extra measures to show humility in how we focus on strengthening areas of weakness.

This leadership focus will increase performance through authentic (real, genuine) interactions that are accountable to results and cultivate a solid relationship through healthy conversations and behaviors, even when things get heated or confrontational (it’s ok to confront behaviors and be accountable to one another). 

Projected leadership means you…

Lead from the “Back”

This takes place through coaching, accountability, and being present in each moment with people. It doesn’t stop there, projected leadership means that you also…

Lead from the “Front”

Leading from the front employs practices such as vision setting, execution and clear communication.

At the end of your career, what do you want to be known for?

As a CEO, as a pastor, as an entry level manager, as a small business owner…what do you want to be known for?

Projecting healthy leadership onto others will make your work, church, and home healthier, more accountable, and will create more opportunities for selfless activities. It will drive production and deeper satisfaction in life for you and your teams. 

Does all of this seem like A LOT?

It actually is a lot. Frankly, it’s too much to do alone. That’s why at CourageToLead we believe, “Every Leader Needs a Coach”…because no leader can do it all alone!


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