A friend asked me once to name the things I do as a leader because I have to do, but don’t necessarily like to do. He even had a term for it. He called it the “underbelly of leadership”.
It was a great question. It caused me to think. There are actually lots of things I do, which I don’t enjoy doing. That’s likely what most of us call work. But, what do I “have” to do?
Here’s a stab at answer the question.
Here are 5 things I have to do as a leader, but don’t always like to do:
I much prefer leading a vision to managing the process of accomplishing the vision. I love big pictures, but I stress over details. Part of my role, however, as a leader is to make sure the vision is actually accomplished and not simply painted. Many people start with great ideas, but the reality is few finish. Leading often starts very well. Managing effectively gets it done.
I would rather receive the “Best Boss” award by being “Mr. Nice Guy”. Part of the leader’s responsibility, however, is to offer constructive criticism – and sometimes correction – so the team gets better and the organization continues to improve.
I know patience is a fruit of the Spirit, but it is the fruit I struggle with the most. I want accomplishment and I want it sooner rather than later. I have to recognize, however, fast is not always best and others on my team are wired differently from me for a reason. They balance me well.
I would rather have it my way. (Did I just admit that?) The fact is, however, there are smarter people than me on our team about some issues and if things are only done my way we will be limited to my strength and not the strength of the team.
I like to win. I want success and progress. It is how I am wired and the desire for a win keeps me focused on accomplishing the vision through strategy and diligence. The fact remains, however, some of my greatest growth times in life and leadership have come through times of personal failure. I have to allow failure in my life and in the life of our team in order to help us to learn ways to improve – through failing.