Jason Hietbrink

How to Become a Leader Your Team Will BLEED For Part 1

How to Become a Leader Your Team Will BLEED For Part 1

If you want to take your team to higher levels of performance,  you first have to become the leader they need you to be to take them there.

In early February I flew to South Carolina for an event with some of the world’s best coaches. On the first day, a former firefighter captain told us she was going to lead us in an exercise together that would expand our capacity as leaders.

She explained we were going to enter alligator infested waters with weighted suits and hold our breath until she would give us the signal to come up for air. Sounds more like torture than an exercise in leadership!

Her point was to teach us to stay in our body when we get uncomfortable vs. staying in our head. Through her years of training, she knew how long we could last and still be safe, even though our minds would be screaming at us “you’re going to die, go up for air!”

I was nervous. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this. But I knew it would be worth it.

If you want to know what happened, reach out and I’ll tell you! 😊

Here’s the point: This was the first time I’d met this individual. She was a total stranger to me. And yet within 30 minutes of meeting her, I was willing to put my life in danger to follow her.

How do we become THAT kind of leader for our team?

How do we become a leader who is the source of inspiration for others giving their best, even when they’re afraid or uncertain?

There are several foundational pieces of becoming this type of leader and there’s simply no way I could condense them into a single article. So, I’ve decided to make this a SERIES. Today, here is your first foundational leadership principle:


No one will follow a leader they don’t trust. And there are three parts to building trust with others.


You’d never follow a leader into alligator infested waters unless you trust they know what they’re doing! As a leader, we must possess the skills and knowledge to help our team succeed. It doesn’t mean we have to know it all, but it does mean we at least know what we’re doing. Credibility ALSO means that our actions align with our words. When you say you’re going to do something, you follow through. Your team knows they can count on you.


2) Vulnerability

This might seem counter-intuitive. We think that to lead well we need to be the superhero who never struggles with anything. However, vulnerability builds TRUST. Be willing to admit when you’re wrong, when you’ve failed, or when you don’t know. The more “human” you are to those you lead, the more they’ll trust and want to follow you.

3) Authentic Service

People trust leaders who are genuine. You can tell when a leader is in it for themselves. You can tell when someone is being fake. People will “bleed” for leaders who come from a place of service and put others before themselves.

Be honest, do you exist to serve your team, or do they exist to serve you? When a team member isn’t performing well, are you more frustrated about having to deal with it or do you see it as an opportunity to develop them?

  • Can your team count on you doing what you say you will do?
  • Are you willing to admit when you’re wrong and share about weakness and failures?
  • Are you coming from a place of authentic service, or deep down, is everyone on your team REALLY there to help you hit your goals?

BTW, leadership is a journey – a process; it’s about constant growth and course correction. If you’re not failing as a leader on a weekly basis, you’re not leading. Remember, it’s an infinite game. You don’t ever “arrive” as a leader – you simply keep growing.

Look for “Part 2” of this series of articles on leadership in April! 😊

What was ONE takeaway from this article and how will you apply it THIS WEEK with your team?

Step 3

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