Being a leader can make you feel like you're in a lonely place, especially if you're in a middle management position where you have to deal with people who report to you and people you report to. Why do leaders get paid the big bucks? Because the pressure is greater and the decisions are bigger. It's not only dependent on their talent; it's dependent on the talent of others, and if not properly used results can be disastrous.

Where Ya Headed?
Marines via Compfight

With that being said, leadership shouldn't be seen as something to run away from. True, there are some people who seem like they're born to be leaders, or natural leaders if you prefer. But there are many leaders who have picked up some things here and there from mentors or coaches or just paying attention to other leaders, and turned themselves into great leaders. There are also those who have learned each of the five thoughts below, which helps one console themselves when things aren't going that smoothly.

1. Give Yourself Opportunities To Improve

You'll have to do some work, but it's not all bad. There are lots of books on leadership, seminars, organizations, executive coaches and even some people who work where you do who you can talk to and get advice from. Your issues aren't unique; trust me on this one. There may be variations on a theme but everything you might go through, someone else has already been there.

The biggest problem I see with people who don't progress as leaders is that they're not truly invested in it. It's always easier to stay exactly as you are and complain about it than deciding you want to change and actually doing it. Think about how many things you've thought about changing in your life and how many you've actually adopted. If you haven't changed at least 25% of the things you aimed for in your life, and that's a fairly low number, you're probably predisposed to stay as you are. That's a mindset change you'll have to work on to overcome your hesitation.

2. Stay Relaxed; No One Can Do It All

If one person could do it everything by themselves, there wouldn't be such a thing as employees. Throughout history, there have been those who lead and those who do a lot of the work. There have also been specialists or higher leaders who give guidance and help along the way. You might feel that the pressure is on you to perform, and you're probably correct. But it's not on you, unless you work for yourself, to do it all by yourself. Help is always around; you just have to know where to find it.

How do you get help? The first thing to overcome is worrying that someone else will think you're not competent to get the job done correctly. That's rarely a problem unless it's a constant habit of yours.

The next thing is to figure out who to go to, who to talk to or figure out where you can get the information from. Truthfully, it never hurts to call a meeting with your staff regarding an issue to see if any of them have ideas on how to possibly move things in the proper direction. Some would say that takes courage, but there are times when you as the leader have to recognize that if you're not actually doing the work on a daily basis that you might not know everything that's going on.

Finally, once you've done some research, talked to some people and have contemplated things... make a decision, go strong with it and see how things play out. Unless it's a life or death situation (which is rare in the business world), almost everything can be fixed, and if it can't then the problem calls for new solutions that you or no one else has discovered yet.

3. Realize You're Not Alone

Above I said leadership can feel like a lonely place instead of saying it's a lonely job. In many businesses your position might be unique where you're employed. However, there are probably other businesses that do something like what you do, or peers in those businesses who know something similar that might be willing to help you out. Also, there are probably networking groups you can join and then have others you can talk to and commiserate with. There's no shame in not knowing everything about your job.

4. Don't Be Afraid To Evaluate Yourself

When people don't know things, or when things seem to be going wrong or are difficult, they tend not to want to look within themselves to see what they're made of. Self evaluation lets you know whether you're up to the task and just scared to try, or whether you need to learn more or ask for help to get things done.

This is one of those times when too much pride or the fear of someone questioning your abilities can hold you back. If you need to ask someone else to help you evaluate yourself, do it; just make sure you ask the right person. No one, not even leaders, are supposed to remain stagnant throughout the life. Personal and business growth comes from learning and trying new things, which is easier done if you can figure out what you need to do or learn to be better than you are presently.

5. Don't Be Afraid To Stand Up For Yourself When You're Right, Or Accept Criticism When You May Be Wrong

Net everyone will agree with you on everything, but often people will think their way is more correct than yours. Sometimes they might be right, and it might be worth taking a look at. But if they don't have all the information you have, or the expertise you have, don't defer to them even if they're in a superior position to yours. Stick to your guns and argue your position; just make sure you know what you're talking about.

Even if you get overruled, your ideas might prove to be right, in which case you'll gain a lot of credibility the next time something comes up. If the other suggestion works, it doesn't mean that you were wrong, but it could mean that maybe you should have thought more on why the other thing worked so well. By the way, if it could have gone either way... hey, that's life! 🙂

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