Tips on Effective


  • Know your mindset
  • See the bigger picture
  • Accept that failure is a natural part of anyone’s leadership journey and learn from them
  • Watch your self-talk and limit negative thoughts 
  • Focus on the future and don’t get caught up in the past



“Self-healing is actually learning to heal yourself as a leader and to prevent all of those cuts from doing you harm”



Dean Crisp is the author of Leadership Lessons from the Thin Blue Line. He is the president of the Crisp Consulting Group and founder of Leaders Helping Leaders Network, a network of professionals dedicated to growing future leaders. He’s served as the National Training Director for FBI-LEEDA and continues as an instructor for them when he is not teaching his signature course, Intentional Leadership: Leading with a Purpose. You may reach Dean by emailing him at 



Four Pillars of Leadership

Pillar 4: Self-Healing

By Dean Crisp

This week we wrap up the series on the Four Pillars of Leadership with Self-healing.  First, let’s recap the other three:

  • Mindset – your actions as a leader are often where your mindset lies. Do you know your mindset? Is your growth or fixed? Most of us tend toward one or the other, but regardless, we can all learn and practice having a growth mindset. Those with a growth mindset tend to withstand failure and setbacks more than those with a fixed mindset.
  • Emotional Intelligence is the second pillar of leadership and the most complex. Developed by Daniel Goleman, it is the ability to be self-aware, self-managing, organizationally aware and the ability to manage relationships.
  • Self-Reflection, which is the third pillar, is that leadership ability to reflect on the day’s conversations, events and to think about how you as a leader can do things differently next time.

The fourth pillar, Self-Healing, is truly the key to every leaders survival.  

When I think about Leadership I also think about sacrifice.  Working in leadership positions for over twenty-one years, I learned very quickly that sacrifice is a integral part of every day life as a leader. As a leader you will sacrifice many of your personal wants and desires in the service of others.  When you become a leader it suddenly is not about you anymore, but the service to others and the organization. 

This can cause a good deal of stress and consternation.  The Chinese parable of a death by a thousand tiny cuts, applies very aptly to anyone in leadership.  In this story the person found guilty was punished and tortured by a thousand tiny cuts which would slowly lead to them bleeding out a long and torturous death.  Although not in the literal since of actually being cut, leadership can sometimes have similar results.  The torture of daily problems, both internally and externally, along with the sacrifice that comes along with leading creates this constant bleeding from the cuts.  As a leader I can relate to this parable. 

Now certainly, not every day was torture as a leader, but I certainly had many tough days. Whether it was dealing with difficult employees, or other political issues within and outside of the department, the saying that leadership is lonely at the top is certainly one I related to many times.  You often don’t or simply can’t discuss the biggest issues you have as a leader with anyone in your department – it’s on you and only you.

This is why I developed the fourth pillar of self-healing to show other leaders how to do just this.  Self-healing is the ability to actually heal yourself as a leader and prevent all of those cuts from doing harm to you.

So, how do we begin the self-healing process? I will give you five tips that have helped me:

  1. The first step actually begins by adjusting our Mindset and stop expecting that everything is going to be great or easy as a leader. This doesn’t mean you have to walk around paranoid that everything is going to bad. But it does mean, that you recognize that Leaders deal with problems daily and, as such, the problems they bring. This may sound a bit strange, but if you are leading people you know exactly what I am saying.
  2. See the Bigger Picture. The more you focus on the bigger picture the more the cuts are put into perspective.
  3. Accept that failure and problems are natural part of leadership and have a way of learning from those failures.
  4. Limit your negative thoughts and your self-talk. We listen to ourselves more than any other person. If those thoughts are primarily negative about you, your ability, your skills, etc., chances are they will become actions. What we say to ourselves matters.
  5. Focus on the future and don’t get caught up in the past. If you spend too much time thinking about the past, you’ll never have time to plan for the future or live in the moment.

These tips have really helped me self-heal many times. They have helped me  limit the damage that dealing with constant problems as a leader can bring such as cynicism, negative attitude toward yourself and others, and so much more. Remember, the rent you pay as a leader are the future leaders you leave behind. Will your leaders by positive or negative? Will they have growth or fixed mindsets? Do they know how to apply the four pillars of leadership I’ve discussed over the last few weeks?

In closing, the four pillars can help anyone who is a leader. Whether you are a parent, a coach, a supervisor, or a chief, you are already a leader. Using these pillars consistently and effectively will bring you amazing results.

Please let me know what you have thought about this series. Write to me, share your comments in the forum. Also, let me know what topics you would like to hear about in the future. We are currently building our 2020 blog schedule and invite guest blog posts as well as topic suggestions.


Thank you,





Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>