Episode 13 – The Pressure and Peace of Leadership: Many Hands Make Light(er) Work

The Details

As we wind down the conversation on the pressure and peace of leadership, we look at the peace that can come from looking outward.  When we lead solely from the standpoint of satisfying our own needs, we miss opportunities to put others as well as the organization in the best position to be successful.  This desire to satisfy our own needs can oftentimes lead to fear and arrogance; thereby increasing pressure.

Leaders who desire only for their own success have the propensity to downplay or even discard the need to develop those around them.  This, in turn, may result in the leader shouldering a much larger load.  The mentality that they are the only ones who can get the job done right begins to surface.  Or, this leader is plagued with micromanaging tendencies to ensure that even when others complete the work; it’s only under the leader’s watchful eye. 

Instead of generating peace in sharing the burden, the leader actually increases the pressure in either doing more work or operating under the premise that every task needs to be reviewed.  Looking outward to the needs of others and the organization as a whole can alleviate some of that pressure as it allows leaders to not feel as though they have to do or oversee everything.  Additionally, the pressure is also taken off their people who are freed up to work with greater latitude and without the stress that comes from constantly being watched and scrutinized. 

While much of this peace rests with leadership, it can also be tied back to the type of culture in place.  Does the culture allow for and treat mistakes as learning opportunities?  Does it champion reasonable risk taking?  Most importantly, though, does it create thinkers or just doers?  The role culture plays when examining the pressure of leadership cannot be overstated.  It can amplify pressure in creating an atmosphere where employees are afraid to make mistakes.  Or it can embody an environment of learning; placing more emphasis on the lesson compared with the mistake itself. 

Finally, there is peace in diversity and empowerment.  While diversity in the racial and gender sense garners most of the attention (and for good reason), we urge you not to overlook attributes such as diversity in perspective, skill set, and opinion as well.  Embracing these different forms of diversity cannot only strengthen teams, but also alleviate the pressure to experience growth with a narrow mindset or limited resources.  But it doesn’t stop here.  Empowerment shows that in addition to being open minded, leadership has confidence in turning over certain responsibilities.  Of course, this should only be done after clear expectations are set and ample support is provided.

There is no denying it; leadership is hard.  We’re called to play many different roles, exude many different characteristics, and possess many different skills.  However, there is peace in serving others and allowing them to lighten our load.  Invest in others.  Support them.  Give clear expectations.  You just might create a little peace in their lives as well.