5 for 5 blog – Do leaders get discouraged?

16 Nov


Good morning.

“Do leaders get discouraged?”

The answer: Yes, absolutely. But….the question is what you do once you find yourself there? Discouragement has many aliases: failure, obstacles, set-backs. For the leader, it is truly a choice: to wallow, or recognize the situation, dust yourself off and keep moving.

This week, that choice hit me square in the face and it all came to a crescendo on Tuesday. As readers of the blog will know, my team and I are in the midst of budget season and still focusing on helping our company through the end of the year. Couple that with traveling three out of the last four weeks and I found myself completely stressed out. So much so, that at dinner, a colleague asked me if I was stressed out. As someone who tries to maintain an steady outward view, unfortunately the answer was yes.

The fact of the matter is that leaders aren’t different from anyone else. They can get wrapped up in projects and daily stresses. For me several issues hit about the same time and sadly, the story I was telling myself, all day Tuesday, was all about myself. I was worried what people might think of me as a leader if I didn’t deliver. I was concerned how I would reach my goals if things didn’t change. Me. I. Myself. And we know from a few blogs ago, that leaders with a “Me” mindset are certainly not set up for success or momentum (http://www.5for5blog.com/5-for-5-blog-me-or-we/).

Exhausted on Tuesday evening, I decided to sleep on it. And thankfully I did…the first thought on Wednesday morning brought my challenges into perspective: no matter what happens, whatever challenges come up, my team will still be there, working together and working to make a difference. In that moment I was both inspired and embarrassed. By focusing only on myself, I was limiting the potential of my team. By focusing on them, and what they had done and continue to do, I knew no problem was too big, despite how it may seem at first glance. Ultimately, remembering my purpose in leading helped pull me out of discouragement and back to possibility thinking.

We often describe our leadership growth as a journey. If so, then discouragement is just making a wrong turn into a bad part of town. The choice again is not to stay there, but to get back on the road to making a difference for your team, through your team, with your team..

Here are this week’s 5 for 5 articles:

Certain failure – by Seth Godin – via @thisissethsblog

Getting Your Head on Straight – by Dan Waldschmidt – via www.danwaldschmidt.com

Problems of output are problems of input – by Austin Kleon – via www.austinkleon.com

Authentic Leadership Rediscovered – by Bill George – via Harvard Business School Working knowledge

Three Tactics From Getting Things Done That Transformed My Productivity – by Todd Henry – via The Accidental Creative

All the best, kevin


One thought on “5 for 5 blog – Do leaders get discouraged?

  1. Thanks Kevin,
    Perfect timing for Discouragement post. As we all face year-end pressures, it was a great reminder that:
    “We often describe our leadership growth as a journey. If so, then discouragement is just making a wrong turn into a bad part of town.”
    I must turn on my GPS!

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