CNLP 299: Patrick Lencioni on His Personal Leadership Crash, How He Moved Through It, and How to Check Your Motive as a Leader

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Patrick Lencioni is a widely-recognized leadership and business expert who has sold over six million books. But none of that exempts you from your own personal challenges.

Today, Patrick opens up about a painful personal leadership crash he experienced 11 years ago, what brought him to that moment, and how he got through it. We also discuss why a leader’s motives matter so much and why most CEOs and senior leaders fail to really lead once they become the senior leader.

Welcome to Episode 299 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Twitter | The Table Group | At the Table with Patrick LencioniThe Motive

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The Five Temptations of a CEO by Patrick Lencioni

The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

The Renovation of Our Soul by Don Wipf

Be Healed by Dr. Bob Schuchts

At the Table with Patrick Lencioni, Episode 2: Stop Hiring the Wrong People

3 Insights from Patrick

1. You can’t serve two masters

Eleven years ago, Patrick experienced a leadership crash. His addiction to success and avoidance of failure left him feeling empty. His joy was fading, and he was struggling to find peace. He notes, “Jesus said you can’t serve two masters, and I was going to prove that I could do both.”

Patrick realized he had a hole in his heart that he wasn’t allowing God to fill. Looking back now, he says that suffering is not without purpose. And had he not suffered, he would have never got to the other side.

2. Pride is the root of all sin

People think that greed is what motivates CEOs. But oftentimes it’s not greed, it’s pride. Patrick shares the story of a client who had falsely altered financial figures. But what Patrick realized was that it wasn’t because the CEO wanted to be rich or have a bigger house. The CEO came from a tough background. He wanted to be successful, and he wanted the people that worked there to be successful; he wanted them to have more money. He was falsifying the figures so he could be their hero.

The idea of failure for some leaders can be debilitating, leaving space for pride to take over. But leaders need to realize that our job is not to be our employees’ hero. Our motivation, as leaders, should be to love our employees and help them achieve their goals.

3. Not holding your employees accountable is selfish

Oftentimes, as leaders, we avoid confronting employees by telling ourselves, “I care about him/her. I don’t want him/her to feel bad.” But not holding employees accountable for bad behavior or poor performance is really more about making ourselves feel better. It’s one of the temptations Patrick outlines in The Five Temptations of a CEO.

Not holding employees accountable is not an act of love or charity or mercy. When we do hold them accountable, we may suffer for a little while in order to avoid them having to suffer for a long time.

Quotes from Episode 299

People think that greed is what motivates CEOs. It's not greed, it's pride. @patricklencioni Click To Tweet It wasn't that success was addicting to me, it was that the lack of it seemed intolerable. @patricklencioni Click To Tweet The best thing that happened to me by succeeding was realizing that it doesn't satisfy. @patricklencioni Click To Tweet Leaders who don't like to be vulnerable can only be trusted as far as they're open to their own mistakes. @patricklencioni Click To Tweet Suffering is not without purpose. And had I not suffered, I would have never got to the other side. @patricklencioni Click To Tweet Most organizations, the vast majority of organizations have far too little conflict because they've been taught in society that disagreement is uncomfortable and you should avoid discomfort. @patricklencioni Click To Tweet If you don't have discomfort in life, you're not going to actually learn. @patricklencioni Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 299

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Next Episode: NT Wright

NT Wright is a scholar, priest and prolific author of over 70 books. In this wide-ranging interview, Tom Wright talks about how atheism doesn’t need to destroy your faith, why he still believes the Gospel, and how his views on some things—including women in ministry—have changed. Tom also discusses podcasting, why he’s embraced online courses, and how the Enlightenment is still getting in the way of sound theology.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 300.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.