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Is Your Leadership Not Working for You? Do the Opposite. (#186)


The Confident Leader


George Costanza, Jerry Seinfeld’s hard luck best friend, was finally fed up with his continual failure at everything in life. If his normal routine was not producing results, he resolved to do the opposite. The approach provides an interesting twist for leaders feeling a bit stale.

“If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”

Jerry Seinfeld (to his friend George Costanza)

This Week’s Edition

If it’s not working, try something else. Experiment with doing the opposite.

Clarify Your Thinking

In the Seinfeld episode, proactively going against his normal behavior, George experiences previously unimaginable results.

What does this have to do with leadership? Well, let’s see. Habits and routines are the building blocks for a successful day. Each successful day compounds on itself to produce an amazing leadership career.

However, when you aren’t getting the results you need, sometimes you need to shake it up. Things can get stale and you can fall into the trap of just going through the motions, all the while wondering why you aren’t getting exceptional results. 

Old Thinking: I doubt my efforts are really working. I’ve been committed to the same old thing for a long time now. I guess this is the best it will ever be.

New Thinking: My leadership feels awfully stale. I can sense it from my team too. Maybe I need to change things up a bit – Costanza style.

Thoughts Lead to Actions

The science behind the brilliance of the Seinfeld episode is called, Cognitive Flexibility – the ability to switch from one way of thinking to another. 

“Cognitive flexibility is important as it allows you to juggle multiple concepts at once. Your brain can shift from “zoomed in” to the micro (the product) to “zoomed out” to the macro (the industry).”

One way of thinking can cause you to feel like your leadership approach is stale. Shake things up by doing something different… maybe the opposite. 

  1. Instead of everyone on your team starting the day individually, set a team meet up each morning to check in.
  2. Instead of leading the meeting, have someone else lead the meeting while you listen.
  3. Instead of doing your Leadership Thinking Time at the office, go to an enjoyable new location. 
  4. Instead of failing to meet new people, seek out four new people this month for coffee, lunch or drinks.
  5. Instead of doing the task, delegate it to someone who wants more responsibility. 
  6. Instead of fearing burn out, take a day off in the middle of the week.

Boost Your Performance

Watch this week’s video to learn additional ways to keep things fresh, effectively increasing your cognitive flexibility.

What’s Your Opinion?

What is something you will do that is the opposite you would normally do? Share it with me at

If you are going to be a leader, you might as well be a good one. Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

We live to make bad leadership extinct so forward this newsletter to others who strive to be confident leaders. 


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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.