The interview was off to a good start. He was smart, confident, had an impressive resume, and carried himself well. I then asked him one of my favorite questions, “What do you really want to do?” He had yet to pause the entire meeting and then fired out another confident response. “I want to lead a team and create a culture. Essentially, I want to be a leader.”
After he left the interview, I questioned his response. Since he has never led a team does he know there is more to the job than meets the eye? Being a true leader is hard, and it has real internal struggles that happen every single day.
Here are 5 toughest internal struggles leaders face:
- “We, not I” - There is no I in team, but most people want there to be. Most leaders got to be in their position because they were a top performer at one point or another. Putting aside their own glory to lift up their team is an absolute requirement to be a great leader, but it’s easier said than done.
- “Why Can’t You Just Do it Like Me” – The old saying “My way or the highway” is a natural thought but it isn’t what great leadership is about. There are a lot of ways to execute project, tasks, etc. and fighting the temptation to always do it your way isn’t easy. You have to constantly remind yourself that by allowing team members to execute on their own, you bring out their confidence and creativity. More often than not, the output is a delightful surprise.
- “This Work has to be Done Tonight”- When you want something so bad, you can taste it, the natural tendency is to go until it’s done. It’s easy to want to push a team to execute everything on their plate. But how often do we write something, go away from it, and come back the next day and the words come right out of us? It’s better to shut something down and come back reinvigorated the next day.
- “Didn’t I Hire You to Know How to Do This?” – Unfortunately, many managers think they hire people to have all the skills when they start. The truth is that everyone, regardless of experience, needs to be improving, refining, and evolving his or her skills. Ironically, it’s often leaders who haven’t taken the time and effort to improve their own leadership skill set because they think they are above it.
- “You Work for Me, Act Like It” – It’s easy, as someone in a position of power, to feel entitled or demand respect whether they have earned it or not. The old golden rule is never above any leader. Employees have mouths, voices, and SOCIAL MEDIA! Check our Glassdoor if you curious how current and former employees feel about your business.
Most great leaders overcome these internal struggles through awareness, practice, and a few servings of humble pie. But awareness is the first step to changing your mindset and your behavior.
If you find yourself experiencing any of these thoughts or feelings on an on-going basis, take a step back and think of Conrad Hilton’s quote about success: “Has anyone ever been successful all by themselves?”