One of the hardest parts of leading for me has been the things I’ve had to learn or do that may have been contrary to the way I would have naturally done them.
For example, I like to be in control of my surroundings. I don’t like the feeling of being out of control. There have been several incidents in my personal life that have shaped that in me as a person. Yet as a leader, there are many times I don’t have the privilege of being in control. To some that may sound like the opposite of being a good leader. Learning to empower people, however, has proven to actually be a better leadership model for me.
So I decided to share some of the hardest paradigms I have had to learn in order to be effective as a leader.
Here are seven hard paradigms I had to learn to be an effective leader:
1. I had to develop the ability to say no more than I get to say yes.
I love to say yes. It’s easier. It makes people happier. It’s such a more positive word. And I’m a positive person—the glass is always half full for me, three-fourths even. But, I’ve learned that always saying yes makes me very ineffective as a leader and eventually leads to my burnout. How healthy is that for our team?
2. I have to live with sometimes being unpopular.
The natural tendency is to believe that the leader is well-known and, frankly, well-liked. I’ve learned, however, that every decision I make seems to make some people happy and some not so happy. I’ve even made some people angry—with some of the decisions I have made—even some that in time proved to be the best decision.
3. I have to move forward sometimes in uncertainty.
I’ve never been able to have all the answers before a decision has to be made. That would totally remove the faith factor, and it would stagnate us. I’ve learned that to be an effective leader I have to be willing to go into the unknown.
4. I had to get comfortable challenging mediocrity.
If you don’t know, you can ruffle someone’s feathers if you challenge the way they’ve been doing something. That includes if what they are doing isn’t working and they’ve “always done it that way.” But I’ve learned that as a leader it’s part of my job to challenge us to improve—in all areas. Granted, sometimes we can push too hard or too fast, but it’s incredibly difficult to recover from complacency.