Knowing your leadership game

To be a great leader, you need to be aware of what your own leadership game is all about.

Steffan Surdek
April 25, 2022
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When you start doing personal development work, a funny thing starts to happen. You start noticing a lot of things that you did not use to notice before.

This is similar to when you buy a new winter coat you think is quite unique. The first time you wear it, you start to notice a lot of people actually have a similar one.

In this article, we will dig deeper into the subject of your leadership game and why it is crucial for you to start becoming aware of it.

What is your leadership game?

Your leadership game is about the behaviours and thought processes behind your leadership. As a leader, what words do you use and how do you act? How do you view your interactions with people?

I call it your leadership game because it relates to how you play with the people around you. Maybe you scream when you do not get what you want. Maybe you try to get everyone to adopt your ideas, so you only pretend to listen to them.

To be clear, I do not use the word “game” with a negative connotation here. I find that when you begin seeing your life as a game, you can start seeing some situations in a more light-hearted way. It also allows you to take a step back.

To see what I mean, imagine yourself playing a board game with your family or friends. How do you show up there? Probably in a more playful way than at work.

Why it is important to notice your leadership game

Your game matters because it is an expression of what you perceive your leadership needs to be. When do you step into your leadership and when do you avoid doing so?

For example, you may feel that you cannot be vulnerable as a leader, and that people will judge you if you are. Leaders need to be strong, right?

This is merely you judging yourself though, it is not necessarily true. The key to all this is that when you start noticing your leadership game, you can start seeing it in action.

How you are contributing to the group dynamics happening on your team? Seeing it gives you the power to start changing it instead of having it run your default behaviours.

An example of what your leadership game creates

Imagine a leader who delegates work to someone on their team. The person then turns in the work. It is acceptable, but it is not done in the way the leader would have wanted. So the leader redoes it from scratch.

When the same leader does this a few times, what do you think happens? People start turning in half-done work knowing their leader will redo it anyways. To them, there is no point in investing the effort.

In turn, this leader may start believing the members of his team are unable to do some types of work.


Think about your leadership game as something similar to cause and effect. When you do something as a leader, it has an impact around you. People may get a boost of motivation or they may get discouraged and turtle up.

Some leaders are blind to what their leadership game creates around them. Others know something is wrong, but do not know how to lead differently. Whatever your case is, you can change the impact of your leadership game.

It starts with noticing it and taking responsibility for it. The good news is that this is a skill you can develop to have more power over changing things that happen around you. When you change how you contribute to a situation, you will often change the outcome as well.

What is your current leadership game? What parts of your leadership game could evolve into something different?