Business Bits: The Tough Side of Leadership

Some days it is easy to be a leader; it’s a pleasure.  The organization is humming along, results are happening, employee morale is high, and life is good.  But leadership has a tough side too.  It is a cycle and there are definitely challenges.  How can we stretch our leadership skills to be a strong leader ready for anything?  This month we’ll take a look at some of the tougher sides of leadership and what to do now to embrace practices that will make us better leaders.

  1. Integrity. Most leaders try to operate with integrity (or at least we hope they do).  What I am talking about here is more authenticity.  Sometimes we compromise our personal standards in order to please others or accomplish tasks.  The tough side of leadership calls for us to be authentic all the time, and that leads to personal integrity and being true to yourself and your values.
  1. Being intentional. It doesn’t matter what happened to you last week, where you grew up, how many good or bad breaks you have had…everyone is able to choose how to act and react.  Yes, sometimes it is harder than others to choose well.  This is where being intentional can come in.  Making mindful decisions in how you act, speak and listen leads to intentional choices.  Making intentional choices takes time and thought, and is one of the tough sides of leadership.  Remember, every decision contributes to a trajectory.
  1. Discomfort. All the magic happens outside of your comfort zone.  How often do you go there?  How often do you take a deep breath and say the risky words?  Being uncomfortable helps develop your leadership capacity.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it worth it?  Yes!
  1. Distance yourself from Outcomes. You can plan your day, plan an event, or plan a presentation.  What you can’t plan is the outcome.  It is wise to consider the outcome you want, set intentions and plan strategically, but the tough side of leadership calls for us not to base our success on the outcomes.  In this way, we enjoy the process so much more.
  1. Legacy. Often we have a discussion about what we want to be known for at the end of our life.  I would challenge you to consider how you operate every day instead.  Every day we wake up and choose what to do and what impact to make.  Those decisions add up to your character and reputation!  What legacy do you want to leave today?

Business Bits is brought to you by Lesa Hanlin, Manager, NOVA Workforce Business and Executive Programs.  Want to learn more about leading?  Visit our upcoming course listing for Managing in Today’s Work Environment