Denmark’s bestselling author shares lethal & passionate leadership tips
Know how to distinguish between a heart passion and an ego passion
Christian Orsted is the best-selling author of “Lethal Leadership”, he is one of the most sought after leadership speakers in Denmark who conducts 70+ speeches, lectures and keynotes a year. What’s unique about Christian is that he doesn’t shy away from digging into the dirt to uncover and face uncomfortable truths.
Christian helps organizations reach a new level of success by busting old management myths. He turned his personal ego battles as a leader into a lethal weapon – a passionate focus for fiery action that leaves room for admitting mistakes.
“Passion is the fuel for excellence”, says Orsted in today’s episode, “but too much of it can take anyone to the edge of burnout”. And sometimes, too much passion can narrow down the focus and cost mistakes.
“Wipe your slate clean.” – says Orsted, and adds that, by owning mistakes, successful organizations make room for change and growth.
So if you would like to learn the secrets of lethal leadership watch now and don’t forget to share it around and spread the passion.
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Moustafa: Hello everyone and welcome back to Passion Sundays, the best way to end the week and start another.
Our guest today is one of the world’s leading experts on leadership. He is the author of the best-selling book, Lethal Leadership. Started in Denmark and became global in no time.
Christian, thank you very much for being with us today.
Christian: Pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.
Moustafa: What an interesting topic, Lethal Leadership. How did you come up with this topic?
Christian: Well, I couldn’t help it. I’ve read several books about leadership and in the final phases of my most recent book, I just found out that it was too boring. It was about what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and I went, this book has been written before.
Let’s talk about what goes wrong. Let’s talk about what people have a hard time facing in their organization. What the real problems are and also open up what goes on behind the scenes. As a consultant and at the Sea Suite, what goes wrong, what do we really talk about and what other main concerns.
Moustafa: And I know this, this book did not fly with publishers earlier. You met a lot of resistance so why did you do it when everybody said no.
Christian: Well it’s interesting. All publishers said “Forget it! Lethal Leadership, that’s not gonna fly. Managers want a book with easy solutions. They want it short, they want it sweet. They don’t want anything to complicate their lives. But reality has been the exact opposite.
I think all managers know about myths that take their focus away from creating the performance they want, the well-being they want in their organization, the innovation, the creativity. But, it’s not something we talk about when something’s goes wrong. Usually advice from consultants is “Do more of what we told you not do something else.” When we see changes going wrong, we see the advice that “Your staff has resistance to change.” And obviously, it’s the exact opposite. The way we do the change creates the resistance.
So I found it very helpful to look at what goes on in the organization. And what does the science really say about how do we make organizations change and perform, and not, what are we usually telling each other in order to confirm and feel good about what we did and instead look where is the real issue and where we can create the performance.
Moustafa: I love it! So by pursuing your passion against everybody’s advice, you ended up making a success. Although at the beginning it was very risky. Ah how would you distinguish if this is real passion coming from the heart, or it is just another mind game or an ego game?
Christian: Well I think for me, it is an ego game too, because I felt like I’ve done things that did not work.
Christian: I’ve done things that did not work and not admitted it.
Christian: I’ve been part of teams where we told each other “We’re doing the right thing. It’s the organization that’s the problem.”
Christian: And I’m wondering, can you keep being a consultant and not own up to the failure? Can you keep being a leader and not admit your mistakes? I think it’s also for your ego, it, it feels good to come clean.
Christian: Wipe your slate clean. But I also believe there’s a benefit to it because it allows other people to admit “Oh there’s something we aren’t sure about, there’s something we’re curious about, there’s something that’s not working that we need to discuss.” So I found this attracts specific kind of organization as a client for me. Very unsuccessful organizations hate my book.
Christian: They don’t want to talk about what they could be doing wrong. It’s always the market, it’s the customers, it’s their employees – that’s the problem! But successful organizations, they have no problem. Actually successful organizations are characterized by, that they know they’re not doing perfect. They know that some area that they can improve in and it’s no shame to admit it because it only allows them to take it to another level.
Moustafa: Hmm. I love it! So what makes a passionate leader in your opinion?
Christian: Well, that’s one of the myths that I addressed in the book that I think passion can be a problem.
Christian: We need passion because it’s the fuel for excellence. But a lot of the leaders I worked with are so passionate that they are very close to burning out.
Christian: Sometimes they love their job and the challenges so much, that it’s consuming them and it’s narrowing their focus.
Christian: So I think passion is also about balance sometimes. And the balance we need in passion is not to work less. The balance we need is to increase our influence, so we can actually move and progress and create the results that we have burning ambitions about.
Moustafa: I love it!
Christian: So the myth about work life balance I believe, is one of the most flawed and dangerous myths in work…
Christian: Because it tells you if you’re passionate, work less. What I am saying is, if you’re passionate, you have to up your game and be better, so when you work more you actually feel the freedom of the results…
Moustafa: I agree.
Christian: Of creating and making a difference for other people.
Moustafa: I agree. I, I say that I don’t want the work life balance discussion because there’s life.
Moustafa: Work is part of your life. It’s a piece of the puzzle and you have to be able to balance all of these aspects out in a way that serves everything.
Christian: Yeah. It’s so flawed that life should be competing with work.
Moustafa: I agree.
Christian: It should be together. And hopefully supporting each other so when I’m happy at work, I’m all happy in my life. When I’m happy in my life I have more to offer in my work.
Moustafa: Awesome! I love it. Passionate life, passionate leader, and lethal leader. Christian, thank you very much for being with us today.
Christian: Thank you for inviting me.
Moustafa: Appreciate it!
Moustafa and Christian: Passion!
Moustafa: What do you think? I would really love to hear your opinion so share your comments on the blog below and share this episode on social media. And if you’d like more tools, tips, techniques and exclusive interviews that I only share on my website, go to Moustafa.com. And until next episode, live passionately!