Tater Talks Leadership

Two disclaimers before I start 1. I am not going to claim I am a great or even good leader. 2. I am not talking about any specific people in the post. If you read something that sounds like you it is merely coincidental.

I was at a conference in the fall and one of the things that really stood out to me was a quote that I, being old, can’t remember exactly. The basic premise of the quote is that you should not take a leadership position if you want to be comfortable. Leadership is not comfortable. If you are in a leadership position and you are comfortable, you might be a bad leader. If you are in a leadership position and are comfortable, there is a really good chance someone below you is uncomfortable because you are letting the hard things fall to them. If you took a leadership position because you wanted the “perks” of being a leader without the challenges of being a leader you are likely an asshole and a terrible leader. Leadership should not be comfortable. If you don’t want to be uncomfortable and do hard things do not take a leadership position.

Leadership is not sitting in an office while others do all the work. Real leaders get their hands dirty. Figuratively, you don’t actually have to have dirty hands to be a leader. I don’t know how someone expects to lead a staff when they have no idea what the staff does. If you aren’t out there working with the people you lead, how do you know how to lead them? How do you know what they need? Who needs what training? Too many people think one of the aforementioned perks is that they get to sit in an office all day while other people do the work. I like when I go into a business and the owner and/or manager is out on the floor working with the staff. I guarantee your staff notices how much you are working with them.

A good leader cares about the people they are leading. They don’t treat people like replaceable cogs in a machine. They value them and let them know they value them. Leaders should, when possible, fix issues that are making work difficult for their staff. Good leaders have employees who want to continue working for them because they know they have their back and will support them when things are hard. Also, a leader should be supportive and do what they can to help their staff when they are ready to move onward and upward. Caring about your staff also means not holding them back to make your life easier.

Leadership is hard. Unfortunately, you might not know this until you are a leader. Do the hard stuff. Be visible. Care about people. That will make it a little easier.

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