Every other week, I sit down to write a post on leadership. I try to convey to you all something I have learned about leadership, or the need to be intentional about the culture you wish to develop in your organization. Sometimes the words just fly onto the screen, while other times it is a struggle to come up with a topic. I try to pull from real life stories in the hope that my experiences will inspire or challenge readers.
This is one of those weeks where the words, well, they just didn’t want to come. My brain is tired and my tank is almost on ‘E.’ Looking back over the last few weeks, we have had several issues at work, my family life has been extra busy, and my exercise routine has been thrown off by the holiday season. All those things directly link to my ability to write this post. You might be thinking (that is, if you are even still reading) that this post is a real downer. If so, my sincere apologies. That is not my intent. My intent is to keep a theme going — a theme on which Bill Rieger and I founded Culture Infusion — and that is transparency.
Leaders feel uninspired at times. Even the greatest of leaders need to recharge. Character building comes in how we as leaders listen to that need to refuel. I cannot just drop what I am responsible for. I cannot stop leading and give into my feelings. I have to follow through, and then retreat to my place of refuge. I can only do that after trusting those I have placed in charge, who are just as competent as I am to keep the trains running.
Take, for example, football. I love football. It is not just a game to me, but a model for how great teams should work together and how great leaders should motivate their players. Nick Saban, who is the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, made a statement at halftime during one of the team’s late season pivotal games. Saban said, “I tell my players to remember what they want and to not play like they feel.”
You see, by the end of a long season, these young men are tired, bruised, and some are even injured. If the guys play according to those feelings, they will not achieve what they want, which is to win the National Title.
It is really no different for a leader. We get tired, we get frustrated, we make mistakes, and we get stressed, and if we act on those feelings, we will not achieve our desired outcome. We are called on daily to lead with the endgame in mind. When we get caught up in the small things, we are unable to carry the ball down field toward the goal.
I write this to remind myself that it’s okay to admit that I am not always an inspired leader. If I have been doing my job well, sowing into others, then I can lean on them during this time. Year-end brings with it great joy, deep reflection, and hope for a New Year. I am taking some time off this Christmas season, acknowledging my need to recharge. From me and Bill at Culture Infusion, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.