Leadership is a rewarding journey, especially for those who are called to lead others, innovate, or champion change. Leaders can either emerge or they pull from natural talent within to grow over time. Whatever the circumstance, the leadership journey is filled with ebbs and flows, highs and lows, and grit and grace.
Leadership requires grit and grace!Debranetta Howard, Career Mom Community
In a recent post I shared some facts about leadership that I have experienced, observed, and studied. I feel it’s time to shine some light on other leadership attributes that often get overlooked to better equip emerging leaders for the journey ahead. The focus of that post was the willingness to be misunderstood. You can read more here. For now, let’s continue the discussion by diving into the leadership realities below:
- The weight of the team is heavy
- Leaders are not always to most popular on the team
- One “bad apple” can spoil the whole bunch and it’s your problem!
Let’s dive in.
Fact – The weight of the team is heavy
Whenever I share insights about leadership, I always emphasize that leadership is dynamic and it varies with the setting, responsibilities, and the overarching goals. No matter the leadership position, the weight of the team and/or assignment can be heavy.
Leaders serve others, steer the team (or assignment) and are accountable for the outcomes.
“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.” Matthew 20:26
The service component is critical. Serving, inevitably, requires you to connect with others on varying levels, including personal. Leading people sometimes means leading their problems as well.
What then should you do?
Implement appropriate coping practices to help navigate the stress that can come along with leadership roles. In addition to grit, leaders need grace to endure the burdens of their task. My motto is “show grace and be open to receive grace”.
Fact – Leaders are not always to most popular on the team
Hear me out… The call of leadership is certainly not a popularity contest. The assignment supersedes that contest any day. The point here is that there can be a level of resentment towards leaders. Especially under circumstances where individuals:
- Have been burned in the past
- Resent authority
- Feel jaded about not being selected to lead
- Have personal issues with the leader
- Have disassociated with the team all together
Trust me, the burden under these conditions can be discouraging and crippling if you are not adequately prepared.
What then should you do?
In short, get tough!
The leadership journey is not for the faint at heart and I learned early on the need for “thick skin”, as some would call it. To help me maneuver, I found a way to develop “thick skin” without becoming desensitized to the needs of others. My mission is to go to sleep at night knowing I did my best for the team and the organization, while staying true to my values. Effective leaders take time to help others overcome personal struggles but, at the end of the day, every individual is responsible for their own convictions.
Fact – One “bad apple” can spoil the whole bunch and it’s your problem
If you identify a conflicting occurrence or challenge within the team it’s vitally important to get it under control quickly. It will help you to avoid:
- Internal team conflicts
- Low productivity
- Disjointed processes and execution
- Rebellion and withdrawal
- Other negative implications
What then should you do?
Start by giving the benefit of the doubt. Then you should also assume good intent. Over time, you will be able to discern a person’s motives.
Toxic environments are caused by toxic people; plain and simple. We’ve probably all experienced this to some degree or another. Even high performing teams face challenges when there is toxicity in the environment. This is when the leader should tap into their coaching toolbelt by coach the team and the individual(s) through their challenges. If coaching, correcting, and leading does not work, find a way to further minimize or eliminate the situation all together. If that means removal or termination, that is a reality leaders face. Let’s hope reconciliation remain an option so termination can be avoided. Remember grace is an important part of our leadership journey.
I hope you will add these nuggets of wisdom to your leadership toolkit and that they will help to grow on your leadership journey.
Leave a comment and let me know what other aspects of leadership you feel need to be discussed more frequently.
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Great article. I love the insight and tips. It was all very relatable and practical.
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