I have a few warnings for those who want to be a senior leader.
I should probably first say, should you choose to do so, I’ll be one of your cheerleaders. I’ve been in a senior leadership position most of my career. Some days – many days – I would rather someone else had the role. I know I would not be satisfied long-term. I think some are called to senior leadership – or at least wired for it. (And, if God has called you to it He will equip you for it.) I certainly love to encourage those who serve in this way. And, it is hopefully seen as a privilege and service.
But, I do have a few warnings, before or as you take the leap of faith into the realm of senior leadership.
Don’t Agree to Be the Senior Leader Unless…
You are ready to lead alone at times. And, with much of this platform I encourage people to build by consensus and include others in decision-making, but there will be times you’ll have to stand for the right thing. You may not be alone, but it will often feel like you are.
You aren’t striving for popularity. I like what someone said, “If you want to be popular go sell ice cream.” You must know every decision you make will be unpopular to someone. Every decision.
You can make the hard decisions. You have to be able to make the call when no one else will – even the ones involving people or conflict.
You will try to see all sides of an issue. Because there will be a multiple of opinions and viewpoints. You don’t have to agree with all of them and shouldn’t, but you do need to be able to consider the voice of others to lead them.
You are comfortable with change. In my opinion, it would be difficult to last at the senior level if you were the one who resists change and thinking outside the box.
You are okay when others receive credit. You must be able to view your success as the success of others you lead – even when we get credit for something you initiated.
You can delegate. You have to be able to give away authority and truly empower people – believing things are better when other people have the power to make decisions without your micromanagement.
You don’t let criticism derail you for long. If criticism stops stinging you’ve stopped being human, but you must stay committed to the task before you – even when arrows come. (And, they will.)
You can think beyond today. Leadership is helping others get where they aren’t currently but want or need to be. You must be able to envision a brighter tomorrow and enlist others to join you by casting an engaging vision.
You highly love and value people and their contributions. If its. It an act of serving others, don’t enter senior leadership. It’s just not fair to people otherwise.