The Two Rules Every Leader Needs to Know with Peter Anderton

The Two Rules Every Leader Needs to Know with Peter Anderton, Founder of Internal Alignment

On this week’s episode of the Leadership Habit Podcast, Jenn DeWall and Peter Anderton discuss the two rules every leader needs to know. 

As the Director and Founder of Internal Alignment, Peter boosts senior leaders who need their teams to go further and faster. He is a speaker, executive coach, and high-performance team engineer whose insights are designed for business leaders who need more change for less effort. 

His TEDx talk has been viewed 1.4 million times and is now being used in MBA programs around the world. Why? Because what he does impacts real people in the real world to make real changes in the effectiveness and performance of their team, accelerate results and get their life back. 

Episode Summary 

As the episode opens, Jenn DeWall introduce Peter to The Leadership Habit audience, and he tells her more about his background. Then, they dive into a discussion about the rules every leader should know. 

What Leaders Are Getting Wrong 

Jenn asks Peter to share what he thinks is the number one thing leaders are getting wrong in the business world today. He explains that people must stop looking for a silver bullet. Too often, managers look for a magical tool to solve their problems. 

Peter then explains that he thinks people overcomplicate the concept of leadership. He believes that although leadership is difficult, it is actually very simple. Ultimately, it is about the impact you are having on other people. It does not matter what you have in your head, it only matters what you do and how you behave. 

The First Rule of Leadership – It’s Not About You

Then, Jenn asks Peter to share his two rules that every leader needs to know. 

Peter explains, “So, the first thing that any leader needs to understand, which is rule number one, it’s the foundation for all things leadership. It’s not about you. Too often, we think it’s, you know, it’s about me. It’s about my ideas, it’s about my solutions, it’s about my ego. If we’re really honest with ourselves, that gets in the way a huge amount.”

He goes on to remind listeners that it is not a leader’s job to deliver the result, it is a leader’s job to deliver the team that delivers the result. That’s when everything will fall into place. Quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, he says a good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader. But a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” 

Beware of Letting Your Ego Drive You

Next, Jenn and Peter discuss how leaders must learn to keep their egos in check. Moving from “Me” to “We” is essential for success. He suggests that listeners think of the worst manager they ever had and make a list of the things they did wrong. Then, think of the best manager they ever had and make a list of the things they did right. 

Jenn plays along and makes a quick list for each manager with Peter. They then come to the conclusion that the bad managers focused attention mostly on themselves and were not supportive. However, her favorite managers focused on her and supported her work and professional growth. 

The Second Rule of Leadership – It’s Only About You

Then, Peter begins to explain rule number two, saying, “Rule number two takes a little bit of positioning, really, because what we have to recognize is that if we’ve got the foundation of rule number one, and we realize, okay, it’s not my job to deliver the result, it’s my job to deliver the team who deliver the result. 

So once we’ve got that, we then start to look at our team and think about, well, what have I got? And have I got the team I want? When I look at my team, am I pleased with what I see? Am I frustrated? Are there gaps? Are there problems? Are there people that are just not stepping up to the mark? What is it that I’ve got that, that I’m, that I’m dealing with?

And we’ll find in any team there are varying levels of skill, there are varying levels of capability, there are varying levels of commitment. And the challenge I give to the leader is whatever it is, whatever they’ve got in their team, it’s your fault.” 

Every Leader Gets the Team They Deserve

Peter then explains that, of course, there are instances where someone might inherit a team experiencing conflict or have to deal with a difficult employee. However, it is the leader’s responsibility to mold that team into what they need to be. 

Peter explains, “If we bring it right down to the core, what’s at the heart of that is it comes down to my behavior. You know, I need to understand what they need. I need to behave accordingly. I need to understand what support’s necessary. I need to behave accordingly. I have to recognize that I’ve gotta look in the mirror and ask myself about my behavior. 

So, this brings us to rule number two of leadership. Well, whilst rule number one says it’s not about you, it’s not about your ego, it’s not about your way of doing things. It’s not about your solutions. Well, rule number two turns around and says, hang on a minute. It’s only about you. It isn’t about somebody else’s behavior.”

Closing Thoughts

As the episode closes, Jenn asks Peter if he has any final thoughts to share with the audience. 

Peter shares that, “I think if there was a final message it would be to say, there is no such thing as the perfect leader, so let’s stop pretending that we have to be, it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to say, I don’t know all of this stuff. There’s no such thing as the perfect leader. But the next best thing is the leader who gets and applies rule number one and rule number two!” 

Finally, Peter invites The Leadership Habit audience to connect with him on LinkedIn. He then announces a special offer for listeners to check out his self-assessment for leaders. He explains that it is a three-minute assessment our audience can access for free to find out what leadership areas they may need to work on. (Link below)

Where to Find More From Peter Anderton

Thanks as always for listening to The Leadership Habit Podcast!