The old saying goes, “if no one is following you, then you’re not a leader.”
By definition, as a leader, you’re out front, leading the way with others coming along behind. This means that you are often the one that faces the most resistance, encounters obstacles first and expounds the most energy climbing up the mountain because you face the headwinds full force.
Here’s three things I have found helpful in dealing with the headwinds that leaders face.
1. Engage a mentor – A most points in my leadership development, I have had a mentor. A seasoned leader whom will ask me good questions about my development and hold me accountable to leadership and spiritual growth. These men have drawn out the best in me and been good sounding boards as I wrestle through various leadership challenges. In these relationships, I have often driven the agenda and initiated meetings so as to maximize getting wise input from veteran leaders who care enough to invest a few hours every couple of months to help draw out the best in me.
2. Scheduling think time – Scheduling intentional think and planning time into my schedule for pondering the future, reviewing strategic plans and goals refreshes and relaxes me from the daily vigour of being out front in going after big things. For me, making the most of uninterrupted time on airplanes, or scheduling a day once a quarter to get away is key. This alone time to refocus and stoke my vision gives me the extra fuel to face the headwinds that leadership brings.
3. Develop a peloton – In cycling, having a group of people to ride with can reduce drag by as much as 40%! Leadership is no different. Finding a few people to join you out front as you lead others is a tremendous way to offset the headwinds you’ll face. Not only is there camaraderie along the way, but energy is conserved as together you combat the pressures the tribe you are leading faces.
What have you found effective in navigating the headwinds that leadership brings?