Adam Grant

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

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.

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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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