Avoid This Seductive Leadership Trap

Have You Been Here?

You're reading a book - it's the best leadership development resource you've come along in years. The wisdom smacks you right between the eyes and in your heart you know you are reading life-changing words.


You hear a speaker present a powerful workshop and provide you with critical tools to expand your influence and engage your team.


You come across a blog post - one of those cool tip-lists that are full of practical advice so amazing that you feel lucky to be on the internet that day.

And then…it happens.

You fall into the trap.

It's a seductive trap and its siren song has snared many well-intentioned leaders.

I know I've fallen for it more than once.


The trap is problematic because it feels so good, but it's 100% effective at preventing your leadership growth.

What is this pernicious threat?

It's the SASRNT Syndrome.

SASRNT stands for "So And So Really Needs This"

Here's how it works:  you read that book, hear that presentation, or see that blog post, realize just how meaningful the information is, and then, just when you might start to benefit from it…

The thought occurs to you, "So and so really needs this…"

SASRNT Syndrome can take different forms:

  • "My boss needs to read this book right away!"
  • "I just wish my manager was here."
  • "My colleague needs this list."
  • "I need to share this content with my team."
  • "This is awesome, I'll share, +1, like, post, or pin, it!"

Does this make sense?

SASRNT Syndrome is that tendency we have, when we come across something meaningful, to immediately apply it to others.

  • If you're a leader committed to the growth of your team, this tendency can feel very altruistic. After all, you're looking out for their interests and helping their professional development, right?
  • If you're frustrated by leaders in your life, it's very easy to sink into a whirlpool of wishing those leaders would practice what you just discovered.

Either way, this seductive trap keeps you from the most important work: applying your learning to you.

Be the Leader You Want Your Boss to Be

I was in a hotel recently and realized I'd forgotten a few toiletry items. Fortunately, I discovered that they were well stocked with free samples of everything I needed.

What did I do?

Well, I did NOT call all my colleagues at the conference and tell them how the front desk had everything they might need.

Of course not. I picked up the phone, called the front desk, and five minutes later they brought the items to my room.

I applied the information to myself first.

The next time you come across awesome tools, tips, wisdom, and practices and start to feel SASRNT singing in the background, take a moment and ask yourself a couple questions:

  1. Is this information I have mastered in my own leadership?
  2. Can the person I want to share with look to me as an example?
  3. Have I committed to learning and applying the information in my life?

If the answer to any of these three questions is "no," then I recommend you do not share it…yet.

Begin by making the commitment to master the principles, practices, and tips you've come across. Apply them to your own life first. Then invite others to join you on the journey.

If you skip this step and don't make the commitment, you will feel great - "Yay, I just passed on awesome material!" - but you will have missed a real opportunity to expand your own influence.

This is a principle of leadership: take responsibility for yourself.

Instead of starting with, "My boss is a jerk and she really needs to read this!" start with: "How can this help me to be the leader I want my boss to be?"

Don't Share This!?

I'm risking social networking excommunication here, but I encourage you to NOT share this post...not yet.

Not until you've made a personal commitment to resist SASRNT Syndrome and use what you learn for yourself, first.

It is much easier to click share, like, +1, and pin than it is to actively apply what you learn in your own life.

You can change that: make your click a personal and public commitment that you will be the leader you want your boss (or others) to be.

If you've made that commitment, please share this post, the Lead Change Group, my blog,  and invite people to journey WITH you, not INSTEAD of you.

Your Turn

How do you incorporate the most important leadership learning in your own life?

Post your thoughts in the comments section and let's help one another resist SASRNT Syndrome!

Take care,

David M. Dye

Creative Commons Photo Credits: Fly Trap by David Midgley, Sirens Rocks by R. Fernandez

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