"Nice office...great job title...big team and budget...ahhh...life is good. This gig feels like I've finally arrived in paradise."
- Said every new leader since forever
For those leaders that have scored the proverbial hat trick of landing a great job, work that they love, and a company that has great leadership, life can be really good. For some that means they believe they can take their foot off the pedal. It's almost as if they have convinced themselves that now they can delegate their work and simply operate in a "strategic" role.
Leadership Is Hard As Hell
I'm not exactly sure how "hard" hell is, but let's assume it's pretty rugged. To me, the privilege of leadership requires a whole new commitment on several levels:
Leading requires sacrifice. Not only in the extra time necessary to get the job done, but in understanding much more about the business than just the collection of boxes on your organizational chart.
For those not willing to put in the time, leadership will be a short and inglorious experience. I don't care what Generation (Boomer, X,Y or Z) thinks about this point. Leadership requires a new level of dedication; but trust me, there's still time to save the world too.
2. Strategic vs. Tactical
I see leaders at high levels all the time that believe they shouldn't have to "get into the weeds" of the work.
I hate to burst their bubble, but the only effective leaders are those that can effectively flex between both high level work and also understand what it takes to get the job done.
For those tossing around buzzwords and jargon you are not fooling anyone. In fact, you're actually playing the fool in front of your colleagues.
3. Energy Is More Important Than Ever Before
Leading effectively consumes an inordinate amount of energy. If you are going to perform at a high level (which by default is a minimum requirement of every leader) then you must take care of yourself.
Good nutrition, exercise and sleep are not just things you "should do." They are required. Commit to modifying your lifestyle today...and for God's sake don't say you're too busy. That makes you sound like you can't get your life organized, and no one wants to follow that person. Ever.
How About You
Does leadership feel like paradise sometimes? You bet it does. I wouldn't trade it for any other job on Earth. The ongoing (and quite humbling process of leading effectively) means that I have to unravel my vision of paradise so I can be my absolute best.
I'd love to hear from you.