The privilege of leading is not without its challenges. Leadership is a mantle that can weigh heavy and in some instances, even crush those who bear it. The thing is, leaders are held to higher standards. You can’t be a leader without being some things or expecting certain focus on you. There are luxuries leaders can never have.
Clock In, Clock Out – #01
Unfortunately, you can’t just clock in and out; as a leader you’re always on. Like the main character in a play, you’re not only always on the platform but the spotlight is always on. Dear leader, whether you like it or not, you’re ‘always on’.
Every leader will always be under scrutiny [Click to Tweet]
Those you have the privilege to lead and people in general are watching. Some look to you to get cues to their own challenges. Others, before they do what you say, want to make sure that you live up to what you say.
This is one of the reasons many avoid leadership. The paradox is you can’t influence people without getting their attention. People’s attention is currency for leadership. The platform leading gives every leader double-edged.
Unfortunately ‘clocking out’ as a leader is one of the Luxuries Leaders Can Never Have.
Throw Away Comments / Statements – #02
For those endowed with influence every word and statement matters. One of the luxuries every leader can never have is ‘throw away’ statements or comments. This is not about gagging or stifling yourself. Neither is it about living in fear of what people will say or how they’ll react to everything you say and do. It is just about being mindful.
It is not always easy to know what will be an issue and what will not be. A tweet in an unguarded moment might not have ramifications now, but later. Many leaders’ influence and integrity has been eroded because of tweets dug up from the past.
Even statements from the past taken out of context have destroyed good work in the present. Causing the leader to be treated with suspicion. Suspicion is the bedrock of cynicism and mistrust. Without trust leadership is impossible.
Leaders don’t have the luxury of throw away comments or statements (Click to Tweet)
Again, should this make leaders scared? Yes, and no. Yes, because we must always be mindful. No, because you can’t let the stress of wanting to say or do everything perfect every time. It will erode your confidence to lead. Thus, there’s a tension to manage.
The things leaders say are important. Leaders shape organisations and cultures in varied contexts. Perhaps more than just that, they influence how people live, in profound ways. We’re not always aware of the extent of our influence.
How we live and what we say is not just about the mission of organisations we lead, but about the destiny of many people. Treat your privilege of leading with great care. You’re not just leading teams or delivering products you’re shaping lives.
There may be more, but here these are two luxuries leaders can never have, that have been bouncing around my head.