The Most Difficult Aspect of Leadership: People
Most people who write and speak about leadership paint a picture of the leader and the people as a beautiful symphony of love and passion.
That may be true…10% of the time!
The rest of the time, a leader has to deal with people issues, at least with one person on the team, sometimes a few, and sometimes everyone.
At any one point, you may have to deal with someone…
- With poor attitude
- With low productivity
- With low motivation
- With low integrity
- With the habit of negative talk
- With slow intellect
- With inability to focus
- With unwillingness to grow
- With unwillingness to lead
- With a need to rebel
- With a desire to destroy
- With a rude demeanor
- With a disrespectful language
- With unprofessional appearance
- With unprofessional behavior
- With slowness to move
- With unwillingness to change
Can you relate?
In all my years of leadership, I can hardly recall a time when I was not dealing with an issue as such. Some people issues are small, some are big, and some are unbearably painful.
Leadership is a messy business! If you are not careful, it can keep you up at night, and send you into bouts of depression and worry. Even the most astute of leaders, President Lincoln, suffered with the demands of leadership.
Why? Because understanding, aligning, and keeping a group of people focused and passionate is simply difficult.
You have to be a psychologist, a counselor, an encourager, an inspirer, a parent, a teacher, you have to be a fair judge – wise as Solomon, a hard worker, willing to sacrifice, able to bite your tongue and bend your pride. You have to have courage, empathy, vision, character, patience, and forgiveness.
And you have to have love – for all!
You have to know who to hire, who to promote, who to let go, who to talk gently to, who to talk sternly to, who to discipline, who to write up. You have to know how to keep Human Resources happy, how to avoid offending people, not break any laws – all while keeping a motivated and disciplined team.
Leaders are in the business of people, and it is a difficult business!
But, it is the most honorable business you can be in. We are in the business of love, of dreams, and of great accomplishments.
So, take heart my friend. Whether you are a parent, a team member, a manager, or a president – if you want to influence your world, do not shrink away from your responsibility. Many are counting on you. Yes, you may make mistakes. Keep going! Learn from them. Stay humble.
Anytime you face people issues, tell yourself that it is now your turn to show up, show what you know, and who you are. It is then that you need courage.
It is then that you should play your role as a kind, wise, focused, and resolute leader.
If you are committed to being a great leader, then you have committed to leadership’s hardest yet most rewarding challenge…PEOPLE!
So go forth and lead!
PS – If you know someone who may benefit from this blog, please consider sharing!
Reading: This week I am reading the book Lead with LUV by Ken Blanchard and Colleen Barrett.