Navigating the Do-It-Yourself Iceberg
Overconfidence sinks ships - successful leaders stay afloat by asking for help.
WRITTEN BY: ADAM DANYAL
Leading a successful team or project does not mean refusing help. Like the captain of a ship, great leaders stay vigilant about lurking icebergs that can sink them. And the biggest threat to success is overconfidence in doing everything yourself.
We all want to prove our capability and show off our expertise. But the do-it-yourself mentality carries an undercurrent of hubris that drags leaders and teams down. You simply cannot chart the straightest course by relying only on your own skills and insights. The world is too complex.
Like the Titanic captain who ignored warnings about icebergs, leaders who reach the pinnacle of success often turn inward. They come to believe their solo thinking and judgment is superior. But no single leader, regardless of talent, can see all ends or predict every obstacle.
This truth hits home every time we try building something alone. Those IKEA instructions taunt our independence. But the finished product inevitably looks shaky without another set of hands. We swallow pride and make the call for help.
In our careers, we face a different DIY test. When challenges arise, who do we turn to for a steadying hand or objective view? Like that furniture assembly, charting progress through choppy waters takes collaboration. But unlike IKEA’s numbered parts, mapping success has infinite variables.
Rather than a glue gun, we need diverse views to make the right connections. But first, we must shed the illusion of going it alone. The most daring explorers relied on crew, not just skill. Captains who conquer icy seas ask for guidance and welcome correction.
The next time you face stormy waters, don't just steer harder. Lower your DIY shield and make the call. There is no shame in asking for directions, only in crashing onto rocks you could have avoided. Your team will respect your wisdom, not doubt your capability.
Stay open and keep your ship on course. The trip is always smoother with an extra pair of eyes scanning the horizon.
From our Leadership Bookshelf:
WRITTEN BY: JULIA DANYAL
Steering any team or organization through choppy waters takes more than solo skill. It requires the humility to seek help and diverse views, as revealed in the new book “The Captain Class: A New Theory of Leadership” by Sam Walker.
Great leaders suppress ego and turn to others for guidance. They understand that vulnerability is strength, not weakness.
Successful captains build a crew of unique talents to prevent blindspots caused by overconfidence.
The best teams thrive on collaboration, not bravado. Captains stay vigilant by welcoming feedback.
When challenges arise, great captains don't just steer harder alone. They make the call for new ideas and objective assessments from their crew.
In the end, the smoothest course is charted together. Egos sink ships, but teamwork conquers icy seas. Vulnerability allows real leaders to understand they can't do everything themselves.