Perhaps if you’re in a relationship your partner will tell you nicely that you smell. But will your direct reports tell you that you’re a lousy leader?

There are times I feel like I’m trying to sell deodorant to people who don’t know they smell. While the rest of the world is telling them that a bath once in a while is all you need, I’m trying to tell them that bath works for a short while but you have to keep taking baths your whole life and use deodorant if you don’t want to stink.

What’s up here? It seems like everyone I talk to is a great leader. How can everyone be a great leader if 65% of employees are not fully engaged in their work. Perhaps leadership is like driving, sex or bodily odours. We all seem to think that we’re great leaders, great drivers, great in bed and don’t stink.

Wake up, if you think you’re a great  leader, chances are high that this isn’t really the case. And why should it be? You’ve probably not spent much time working with a great leader, taking courses, reading books, trying things out or getting feedback.

Most companies seem to offer a leadership course every now and then and think that is enough. Well golly, is a bath once a week good enough so that you don’t stink? No way. Leadership is something that you will need to learn your whole life. It is so multi-faceted and situationally dependent that unless you stay in the same job at the same company working with the same people your whole life, you’ll need to be learning leadership your whole life.

So here’s an idea. When you have your shower tomorrow and every day thereafter, when you put on your deodorant, and get into those fresh clothes, all so you don’t stink, ask yourself…..what am I doing today to become a better leader?