Being a bit mean

I never really feel like I've ever really arrived as a leader. For over 28 years I have been in leadership positions in two different universities. Over those years I have learned far more than what I got in a Master of Arts in Leadership degree.

There is good leadership theory that should be researched, learned, and then put into practice, much of what makes a leader successful is gained from time in the role. Being a leader has changed me as a person. Some of that is good:

  • The value of the person in an organization, not just as means to the achieve the mission but as the organization in providing value to the employee as well.
  • The value of serving other's in the process of leadership. We don't lead from the front of the "army", nor do we lead from the back. We lead from the middle, as we sometimes put ourselves in harms way to protect those we lead and we also have to tell the "army" where to go. The middle is represents the ebb and flow that leaders find themselves in leading from the front and back of the "army."

Some of it is not good:

  • I'm a people pleaser so I'll tend to over commit rather than deal with conflict with those I lead. I tend to want to lead through influence rather than directly challenging those I lead. Some get the influence and act accordingly, some don't. I'm guessing you can see the problem now...
  • It is wearing to constantly take on the cares of others. While it is the right thing to do, far too often I let these burden me rather than invoke my faith to bridge the gap of my sense of being the only solution to every problem.
  • I can let my pride get involved in leadership. The danger is that I start to think I might actually know a thing or two about leading a team. The truth is that no one really knows everything needed to lead a team. It takes a good staff, a bit wisdom, a bit leaving things alone, and a bit taking on the tough things like firing someone. Joy.

This is all to say, 2023 has featured all of this and more. While I'm thankful for what I do, I've never been this tired or this defeated either. I'm on the verge of tears from time to time. Wanting to cry but not knowing why I feel so sad.

So where does that leave me here at the end of 2023? I'm going to say hopeful, but that is only by faith that I say that. Don't get me wrong, I have a wonderful core group of staff. I can trust them, they seem to think I'm capable, and together we get things done that matter to my institution. So I do have faith in them. I have 6 years before I hit my retirement goal, so I have hope in that. I hold to my faith in God, so there is the hope in that.

I guess I have hope then.