How often have you experienced leaders who try to get the most out of others — helping to grow their skills, their capacity, and drawing them into being their best — yet they fail to do that for themselves?

Once upon a time, I was that leader.

While I was always trying to get the most out of my team and to elevate their skills, all too often, it felt like I was demanding more and more from them and pointing the finger of blame in their direction. In reality, I should have been pointing the finger at myself.I learned the hard way that, when facing a challenge, the first question a leader must ask is, “What part of the problem am I?”

First, lead yourself. From there, you can grow to lead others

Let me tell you a story about a client of mine.After reviewing and reflecting on the results of his Team Leader View, the leader-only version of the Team Diagnostic Assessment, he noticed several gaps in his leadership skills. Most importantly, he noticed a large gap in trust.He wanted to make a lasting change and control the impact he had on his team. So, he made a very public, very vulnerable statement at his next all-team meeting.

He stood in front of the room and said, “Hi. My name is … and I am a recovering control freak. I say recoveringbecause I see the impact of my control issues and I’m committed to changing.”