“I’m on the skids”
“I don’t believe I have what it takes”
“I’m frustrated and discouraged”
“They don’t seem to understand me”
“I’m bored and going through the motions”
“I am weary and don’t believe I have much left in the tank”
“No one seems to value or appreciate me”
“I’m stuck and don’t know how to move forward”
“It seems like I am only appreciated as much as last quarter’s numbers”
“My home life is a mess”
These are the familiar refrains of pain-points lurking behind the walls preserving masses of limping leaders today. Each of these expressions embodies the struggle to make sense of the dizzying context of complexities in present day leadership. The ache is personal and intense. You may personally resonate with a number of the statements above.
Without sounding too drab, let’s enhance the lighting with the fact that healthy organizations from across varying sectors ARE lead by energized, engaged, and empowered leaders. The raw reality however is that this once sturdy and well-populated raft is beginning to swamp with much of its cargo falling adrift.
I frequently ask those I serve, “How many believe that the vast majority of your colleagues are less alive, less motivated, and not working within their primary areas of talent, passion, and intelligence?”
Overwhelmingly the feedback is sobering. The general tone of agreement I hear from leaders is that that they are personally under immense pressure to deliver more while resources and supports are swiftly diminishing. This pain is felt across the globe as leaders face increasing variability coupled with heightened expectation for production and efficiency. The resulting impact – growing sectors of leaders who have sadly transitioned to the resignation of heart, will, and hope.
It may be easy to think you are the lone wolf out there facing this ache of new and insurmountable challenge. Want some good news? You are not.
Leaders across the globe are facing parallel challenges within all sectors of industry, government, not for profit and private sector. The advance of technology, global interdependence, widening of demographics, and an international dash for quality has blurred the lines across our spaces of work, family, personal, and community.
Our challenges accelerate in complexity as the enrollment of our planet ticks upward. I was recently stunned by a fact pulled in my search comparing global population over the past 100 plus years. Get this…during the 20th century; the global population saw its greatest increase in known history, rising from about 1.6 billion in 1900 to over 6 billion in 2000 while hovering at approximately 7 billion today. It does not appear that this trend has any reason for slowing to allow the rest of us the opportunity to catch our breath.
Taking the time to center on these jarring realities is important in acknowledging leadership context. While it may be difficulty to accept, it may also be easy and popular to slide into the dread mode of discouragement. This slouched posture will never invite anything more that the crowd of the hopelessly to your table of influence. Intentionally confronting the internal clatter of pessimism is the duty of self-care for any leader desiring to Become more.
As leaders, we must first become followers. We learn through the insight of personal reflection and from the wisdom gifted by way of observing other secure and healthy leaders. Following the current where tributaries of self-awareness and streams of quality character intersect, you will find your starting place toward Becoming.
- What personal pain points have challenged your 2014?
- On a scale of 1-10 how alive would you classify your leadership influence this past year?
- How might you use the disciplines of followership to better lean into self-awareness and intentional connection with secure and healthy leaders?
- What are your goals toward Becoming for 2015?
- How can we help?