The Eagle Blog

Leadership Should Be Uncomfortable (and it is)!

Douglas McArthur quote about leadershipThere are many reasons why people are in leadership positions, and you would hope that they are for the right reasons.  People earn their positions because of their knowledge and experience, in many cases they earn the position by proving their worth and they are in the position because they truly want to be the boss.

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”  Vince Lombardi

The demands on leaders are relentless and there is nowhere to hide.  They must make the tough decisions.  They must deliver the tough messages.  They must walk the talk.  They must always remember that they are the leader.  Because of all of this, all leaders will find themselves beyond their comfort zone at times.

Even when they are prepared to make tough decisions, deliver tough messages and do the right thing … they will not always be right, and will invariably be second guessed!  It never gets easy.

“Don’t necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership.”  Donald Rumsfeld

Here are 12 things for leaders to remember:

  1. You need to be decisive! That does not mean be rash or impulsive … but you must make “the call”.
  2. You should be fair … as much as you can be. Life is not fair, so sometimes you need to make a choice but it should be made with a compassionate view.
  3. You will find yourself outside your comfort zone, that is just a fact! Do NOT “turtle”, take a deep breath and do what you have to do.
  4. Own your decisions. We all make mistakes, which is one way that we learn, so own your decisions both good and bad.
  5. You know when people need to hear tough messages, so deliver them. Be professional, it is business not personal.
  6. It is very hard to be friends with your direct reports … if you choose that route, make sure they know they will not be treated any differently than others.
  7. Always walk the talk … you cannot have a “do as I say, not as I do” policy and retain any credibility!
  8. When with your peers and bosses you need to use your out loud voice! Keeping your concerns and issues inside will help no-one, and makes you look like a weak leader.
  9. Look for ways to bring value to the organisation. It should not be all about you.
  10. Look for ways to help your people develop and grow, and to give them credit for their work. Never take credit for your people’s work.
  11. Hire the very best people you can find. You do NOT need to be the smartest person in the room!
  12. Look at the big picture … success comes over the long haul, and sometimes we get so wrapped up in the daily “battles” that we don’t notice we have won a few wars along the way!

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”  Jim Rohn
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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