Legendary Psychologist Adam Grant on Why Leadership is All About Humility, Integrity and Adaptation

This episode is sponsored by Mack Weldon. For 20% off your first order, visit mackweldon.com/tom AND ENTER PROMO CODE: tom

What are the universal principles of leadership? Organizational psychologist and best-selling author Adam Grant is devoted to answering that powerful question. And on this episode of Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu, he lays out the most fundamental aspects of a good leader. Adam and Tom discuss humility, integrity and the importance of being a giver, not a taker. They also delve deep into the idea of “cognitive entrenchment”, which is a deadly trap that everyone has to deal with, no matter how educated, informed, or driven they are.


What are the universal principles of leadership? [1:29] Are you a giver or a taker? [2:42] Adam explains how to be successful as a giver, and the main traps to avoid [4:31] If you want to lead, you must keep people’s attention on the message, not on you [6:30] A leader is like a shepherd, very rarely out in front of the flock [10:03] Adam describes the skills leaders need to acquire, and the criticism they need to seek [13:12] Adam explains why he works so hard to avoid getting caught up in being right [17:01] Teams who have too many superstars don’t win championships [20:53] The leader of a team is often the person who most exemplifies what the group stands for [24:48] Adam describes “cognitive entrenchment” where experts get mentally stuck [25:37] Tom and Adam discuss the need for hyper-specific goals and testable hypotheses [28:47] Is there a point where the constant need for personal growth actually becomes harmful? [33:33] Tom talks about being a synthesizer, instead of being the thinker of original thoughts [37:13] Do you care about what you want to say, or about what people will actually hear? [40:36] Adam talks about why he doesn’t always follow his intuition [42:04]

“People will say, look, you have to practice what you preach. I actually think leaders should be doing the reverse, which is to say, “I am only gonna preach what I already practice.” [3:58]
“One of the fundamental mistakes that a lot of leaders make is they develop a style and then they stick to that style. But the whole point of leadership is flexibility and adaptability.” [11:12]
“If people just praise you over and over again, you’re only going to repeat the excellence you’ve already achieved.” [14:10]

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