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How to Lead a Leader

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Written by: Bob Goyette, COO of Bridge Senior Living

There is so much literature on how to lead. If you are like me, you have a lot of those books in your own personal library and refer to them often. But how do you actually “lead a leader?” I like that David Pericak of Ford Motor Company describes leaders as “dragon slayers.” So, how do you teach someone dragon-fighting skills that is already an accomplished “dragon slayer?”


I have the privilege of working with some amazing Vice Presidents of Operations who oversee our regions and carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. I am inspired by them frequently and through that, they help me be a better leader. I am fortunate that often times my biggest challenge is: How do I lead a group of truly amazing and seasoned leaders?


And so, as with many things in business and life, I believe it comes down to a few simple things:


  1. Let them slay more dragons— Don’t give them just what they can handle, give them more! Many times, I think I can’t delegate other tasks to them given their current workload. However, what I find is that by asking them for their help, it does not overwhelm them — it actually motivates them and makes them better! Great leaders and heroes are always quick to grab the sword and shield and slay the dragon. That’s just how they are built. So, don’t be afraid to ask your leaders to be involved (or lead) an important company initiative!
  2. Failure in their quest means another opportunity— Never say “I told you so.” Great leaders are often their own worst critics and know when they have failed. If they “drop a pass,” then the next play on the field should be another pass play to them. They need to know you have confidence in them and that you are going to focus on their strengths and abilities (which include learning from any mistakes).
  3. Let them have a say in their armor— Involve them in processes that affect them. This certainly is not an original idea but one that is important. Great leaders are eager to share how processes can be improved if you ask them. So, create an environment where feedback is celebrated and rewarded, not disregarded or minimized. Of course, this creates ownership and belief as well. And, when a great leader has ownership and belief, they can move mountains.


Leadership, like slaying dragons, is challenging and not for the faint of heart. Developing and growing a group of true leaders is even more challenging. I have always thought that the highest obligation of any leader is to develop others — that is a leader’s legacy if you ask me. And, by truly leading other great leaders, your efforts will create a leadership domino effect, benefitting a future generation of leaders and the customers they so passionately serve.


I dedicate this post to our four amazing Vice Presidents of Operations that oversee each of our regions. 

Thank you for continuously “slaying dragons.” 

Written by
Bridge Senior Living

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Bridge Senior Living
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