Everyone is familiar with the saying, “No one gets to the top alone.” It’s simple but very profound. Reason being, in your leadership journey, you will need people to keep you grounded, centered and moving forward. Specifically, you will need someone who will tell you when you are:
Taking On too much: A leader’s natural inclination is to fix things that are broken and to correct things that are wrong. The higher you go up, the more you will see things that needs to be done. Leaders then start getting involved in more and more things and working all kinds of hours to get them done. To not wear or burn yourself out, you have to have someone in your life who will tell you when you have taken on too much and advise you to either delegate more or say “No” more. In the Bible, that person was Jethro to Moses. He told Moses to stop trying to do everything himself and to get help (delegate). When selecting that person, he/she has to be someone who is wiser than you and close enough to you to see how the stress is beginning to affect you.
Taking too much: Every leader will have times in which you will become self-centered and selfish. (if you say that you won’t it is because you already have.) You won’t be able to see it, but others will; however, people won’t tell you because of how powerful you have become. (i.e., “The higher you move up, the more people will talk about you than to you.”) Using another biblical example, Nathan was that person to David. When someone brings a situation to your attention, the way you can tell if the person is sincere is by seeing what the person has to gain by telling you. If it is nothing, then you know the person is telling you something that is in your best interest and that you need to change your ways.
Tanking too much: Leaders take responsibility and hold themselves accountable far greater than anyone else. Leaders also often have to make decisions when there is a lot of ambiguity. As a result, there will be times in which leaders are wrong, either in their decision or in their approach. In those situations, leaders bear the weight of their actions and decisions far too much and far too long. To compound things, the external criticism will be loud. It is essential that leaders have someone who will get their heads back into the game. The person does so by doing and saying things that let you know she believes in you and then gets you back to believing in yourself. That person will always be someone who was there for you in the beginning when you had no power, prestige or influence. She will also reach out to you instead of you reaching out to her.
I have been blessed to have my wife Celest, three daughters (Cherie, Angela and Natalie), and a couple of very close friends of over 30 years play those three critical roles in my life. Note: The roles are not easy because you will first be defensive before being reflective.
In closing, take a look at your life and make sure you have people in your life playing those roles. If you have run them away or lost touch with them, reach out and get them back because they will always have your back.