Let me state the obvious. Leadership is not easy.
Never has been…never will be. There will be days when the last thing you may want to do is lead! There will be times when you will have a desperate need to want to just sit in the back of the bus and watch the street blocks go by!
It’s a natural response when you take on a role of leadership. As invincible as you may think you need to be, yes, there will be days when the last thing you ever want to do is stand in front of the band as it makes its way down the parade route!
“Let them lead themselves! They don’t listen to me half the time anyway!”
When that moment of hesitation or doubt arrives, stand in front of the mirror, look at yourself and ask one question and one question only.
“Did you expect this to be easy?”
If you answer yes, then you need to re-visit why you have taken on the responsibility of leading others. If you answer no, then a great opportunity to raise your team’s game is at hand!
First and foremost, it’s not your job to make the team succeed, it’s your job to put the team in a position to succeed. One man or woman does not make a team but a leader that continues to search for growth opportunities within his/herself and the team does!
“High-risk leadership beckons many, but few accept the call. Apollo 13 succeeded at critical moments like this because the bosses had no hesitation about assigning crucial tasks to one individual, trusting his judgment, and then getting out of his way.” Apollo 13 Flight Director Gene Kranz
Leading others is a great responsibility. It’s personal. It requires someone who is special and is led by the single-minded desire to see other’s succeed. It requires someone who recognizes the day to day investment and sacrifices his team makes.
Think about it…when someone punches the clock for a total of 40 hours a week, that is a third of their week. Yes, one could argue that the company has an investment in them and they should just do their jobs, but do not lose sight of the fact that the employee has also invested in the company and the investment they make in terms of effort, focus, going the extra mile will reflect the type of leadership they receive, good, bad or indifferent.
Hiring someone or someone accepting a job offer is a professional decision influenced by a series of personal circumstances, unique to each company and individual.
Great leadership equals buy in…bad leadership equals buy-out!
Leadership is not about one person sitting atop the mountain enjoying providence over all as it was in pre-70’s business world, but rather an open journey that is built on a foundation of trust, patience, communication and respect.
Self-correction is key to leadership success. Without it, you will fall into the trap of simply repeating the same mistakes!
When it comes to leadership, there is never the “hit a walk-off home run and win the game” moment. You may hit a home run but there is always another game, another plate appearance and an opportunity to either hit a home run or strike out.
It doesn’t matter if you lead a team of 500 or a team of 5! Leadership is a tenuous journey.
“Leadership is fragile. It is more a matter of mind and heart than resources, and it seemed that we no longer had the heart for those things that demanded discipline, commitment, and risk.” – Gene Kranz – NASA Flight Director.
Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror and remind yourself that it’s not supposed to be easy and you don’t have to be perfect.
Authenticity, patience and passion will reward you. It will also make the investment of your time more than worth it.
Ken Evraire is an award-winning leadership coach and team builder. As a former professional athlete, he has learned a from great coaches and learned even more from the bad ones!
To contact Ken email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.