What To Expect From Leadership Four Realities All Leaders Face
In this article I want to remind you what real leadership looks like—a constant uphill climb full of obstacles that confound the mind and challenge our spirit. That’s right. The end goal of leadership is not at a sunny day by the beach. If that’s our expectation, we will be sorely disappointed and frustrated with ourselves and our people.
But there is a beauty in leadership. There is nobility and honor because we have the opportunity to serve and to make an impact. Lead for these reasons, not for the elusive perks and personal gains you may receive. Those are temporal and hold little value anyway. When you are having a bad day as a leader, remember this: That’s what leadership is, and that’s what you signed up for.
Good days don’t last.
Yesterday was a great day. I spent four hours recording thirteen videos for the Healthy Leadership Academy membership site we are about to launch. This was a breakthrough for me. My team and I have been planning this for months, and I was not quite sure how to deliver a short leadership lesson on video that has enough depth to be worth watching. Finally, I figured it out, and we had a great filming session. I came home excited, happy to tell my wife all about it. I was grateful and elated!
Today was not such a great day. A key staff member is not doing well. I am getting complaints from patients regarding several situations that have taken place. I am reflecting this evening as I write these words, where did we go wrong?
I used to feel like a failure when bad things happened to me or my team. I felt I had failed because I had not handled situations well enough, but also because after years and years of hard work, I still have problems. As if problems, or bad days, should go away after a while. As if I should be bigger, stronger, and more capable than all the problems. As if at some point after I train people and work on myself, all will be blissful.
Then, I had a revelation. I discovered it is normal to have good days and not so good days, and that bad days do not mean I am failing, or that I am not a good leader. They simply mean that we are imperfect and we live in an imperfect world. Can we look at bad days as normal days?
As leaders, we can and we must. Remember when you have a great day, that good days end. Our success must not be measured by how much serenity we experience. It should not be measured by what is happening around us, but by what is happening in us.
You are going to have problems.
I am always amused when I talk to leaders who seem to be great at everything, except handling problems. They will not keep their leadership positions long. Leaders must handle problems. That’s our business. We are creative, resourceful, and resilient. That’s why we have positions of leadership. If we can’t think outside the box to create solutions to problems, then we are not doing what we were hired to do. As a matter of fact, the better we handle problems successfully, the more we are usually promoted.
If you can finish a project on time by solving what is needed, you are usually given a bigger project, with bigger challenges. If you can lead a team with a certain level of human challenges successfully, you are given a bigger team, or the “problem team.” The leader’s job is mainly to be a problem solver—solving human challenges, client problems, vision, strategy, and operation concerns.
You are going to get the most difficult problems.
If you have done a good job empowering your team, the only things that come to you are the things that no one else can handle. What comes to your desk are the challenges that require a level of experience and wit, wisdom and tact, that only you have. That’s why you are paid to do what you do. So you should not only expect problems, expect the biggest problems.
You will need to make difficult and big decisions.
Similarly you will be required to make hard decisions regarding important matters that have big consequences. These may at times weigh very heavily on you. As leaders this is our calling. It is a heavy burden. That’s why leadership requires depth and strength of character. It requires grace and wisdom.
So today, as you are facing multiple challenges, hopefully you can look inside and know, that you are right where you should be, doing the work of a leader.
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