Leadership Can Be Painful

Posted on Jul 23, 2013 in Blog, Leadership | No Comments

Some people experience leadership as a real pain.

I know women and men who are painfully afraid of doing the things that leaders do. They may be extremely uncomfortable speaking in public, or motivating people, or making difficult decisions. I know people who have been pushed into exhaustion, heart attacks, high blood pressure by leadership responsibilities.

I also know those who feel pain caused by the leadership of others. Some of them are frustrated, others are stressed. I have heard people tell leaders that they are a pain in different parts of their bodies. I have also heard people tell leaders they are sick and tired of the way they lead.

Some people believe that there is no gain without some pain.

Most people try to avoid pain. We try to be careful, not to take unnecessary risks, and know our own limitations. We recognize pain as a consequence of going too far.

Pain can teach us many lessons, about the pain itself and about the conditions that cause it. We remember the pain we have suffered in the past, and work hard not to put ourselves in situations where it might be repeated.

The leaders who inspire me appreciate that some pain is necessary and helpful. They prepare people to deal with and recover from necessary pain. They help people face their fears and discomfort. The leaders who inspire me anticipate potentially painful situations. They help people grow and become better in healthy ways.

The leaders who inspire me know that pain shows us where we could become stronger. Pain can alert us to challenges before they become critical.

Where is your leadership causing unnecessary pain?

How can you learn the lessons of your own pain, and help other people learn the lessons of theirs?

[Image by extranoise]

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