When It Comes To Much Needed Support, Who Does a Leader Turn To?
Bill George, a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Business school wrote this post on the topic of Overcoming the Leadership of Loneliness.
George’s post brings up a great point we mostly hear in a misquoted quote. “Heavy is the head that wears the crown,” is what most people say but the correct quote is, “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” Although stated in a play by King Henry over the impending threats against his reign, many have used this quote to illustrate the pressure that befalls a leader, in general.
“In most cases, there’s a difference between what people might see from the outside and the reality that resides in the leader’s head.”
In most cases, there’s a difference between what people might see from the outside and the reality that resides in the leader’s head. Some people might perceive the leadership from a superficial facade of power, flexibility, and control but pull back the curtain and there might be much at work internally that can take a toll on a leader.
Great leadership is known to be built upon a foundation of ingredients, some of which are self-awareness and the avoidance of ignorance. Through self-awareness, one is honest with themselves and is open to (or has no choice in) seeing their shortcomings and their own weaknesses. Obviously, no one is perfect and so when someone with strong self-awareness looks inward, they too can question themselves.
Related Post: I’m A Loser. Don’t Help Me
Another great and traditional attribute of a leader is one who holds and conveys the confidence on the outside so that the rest of us don’t crumble. For that confidence, they are built up and reassured for their courage to proceed forward toward their vision through their decisions. They provide that vision as well as strength and encouragement to others, to get the best out of them, but it might be done at the risk of sapping their own strength.
“Another great and traditional attribute of a leader is one who holds and conveys the confidence on the outside so that the rest of us don’t crumble,”
Speaking about one’s fears, weaknesses, and stresses allows a process of decompression to take place, and if the leader feels they cannot do so at any time, due to that need to keep up appearances, that tension will build to the point where the leader can break, falter, or lose their way.
Related Post: Leadership Is Not About Them. It’s About You!
Most of the stresses we feel stems from the realization that we feel we might be the only ones going through an experience. Solitude fills up a great space in machinations of our stresses.
“Most of the stresses we feel stems from the realization that we feel we might be the only ones going through an experience.”
We might be too proud to share our thoughts, but we should learn to let go and open up. This is by no means easy and that’s why we should seek someone we trust in order to open up in such a fashion.
No matter how great the leader, she or he cannot go it alone.
So…What About You?
- Where have you seen such a situation of a leader internalizing their challenges?
- Was there a breaking point that led them to reconsider their silence?
- What changes would you recommend going forward for a leader? For yourself?