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A Leadership Kick in the Ass

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A Leadership Kick in the Ass

How to Learn from Rough Landings, Blunders, and Missteps


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Every manager needs a wake-up call now and then to become a better leader.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Leadership consultant Bill Treasurer once led a high-diving team that put on exhibitions. To get the results he wanted, he routinely bullied the divers on his team. That changed when one diver called him out. “If you keep talking down to us,” the diver told Treasurer, “I’ll walk.” This was the kick in the backside Treasurer needed to transform from being a bad leader to being a good one. Now a stand-up leader with no boot marks on his behind, Treasurer explains why a leader sometimes needs a good jolt to get on the right path. If you consider the book’s title offensive, be warned: vulgar terms crop up often. getAbstract recommends Treasurer’s smart, useful guidance to those learning to lead and to experienced leaders who need inspiration, a refresher course or a swift kick.


Every Leader Needs an Occasional Kick

Leaders fall into the following two categories: those who have suffered humiliation and those who will. Many times, the agent who delivers a life-changing kick-in-the-pants moment is a leader’s staff member, colleague or boss. This is just one of the factors that makes leadership hard.

Leaders can reduce this difficulty by placing their egos in check. Ego gets most leaders in trouble and earns them well-deserved kicks. As Gandhi said, “The truth only hurts if it should.” Some leaders need humiliation as a wake-up call in order to see their flaws and become more effective.

Such kicks can be career changing. Think of them as “transformative humiliation.” Colleagues administer wake-ups in the face of “overly strong or anemically weak leadership.” To accept these jolts as valuable learning experiences, leaders can put “adaptability over obstinacy.” Adaptability is a crucial leadership skill.

The swift kick of awareness generally unfolds in four stages:

  1. “Comfortable oblivion” – Many leaders aren’t in touch with themselves – or their shortcomings – until someone administers a rude awakening. They...

About the Author

Bill Treasurer is the “chief encouragement officer” at Giant Leap Consulting, which helps people and organizations become more courageous.

Comment on this summary

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    K. S. 6 years ago
    #30DaysofSummaries It is so true that Great leaders are good people who understand it is not about themselves, but their people. I particularly liked "great leaders must be confident and humble" people do tend to lean towards being leaders like them.
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    D. H. 6 years ago
    My takeaway from this summary is that -as humans,leaders make mistakes .Their readiness to stop,relook,learn and move becomes important - and not let ego come on the way.Good summary
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    J. G. 6 years ago
    Disagree AA. Anyone who doesn't learn to manage their ego will get and does deserve a figurative 'kick in the ass'. Figuratively not literally.
    • Avatar
      6 years ago
      Thank you for your comment on my post, much appreciated; although, I sensed a hint of 'ego' in your comment.

      In my understanding, a kick is a kick, and no one deserves it from anyone, less so someone who has chosen to lead. I wouldn't mind 'showing of the mirror' or 'dose of a perspective' but 'kick in the ass' (language?!) is something even this author does not deserve.

      I am only surprised that it has been chosen to be a part of this challenge.