Leadership – Are You Still Enjoying It? [column]

IN the previous seven articles we touched on the fact that we should be servant leaders, full of integrity, should have vision, should not shift blame, and should not tolerate mediocracy, corruption and passivity.

We also spoke a lot about the favourable context in Namibia, created by two previous presidents who left their legacies of freedom, peace and stability. Having said that, we are surely in a new season, with a new president, who has a passion and drives towards prosperity.

Before I try to rally you further behind our president: In the next articles in this column for 2015 – let us take a deep breath and answer this one critical question: ‘Are you still enjoying your leadership role?’

Sometimes leadership is very hard and lonely. Sometimes you do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. Diaries are too full, deadlines are screaming at you, trends are in the wrong direction, key relationships struggle, cash flow is not what it should be and superiors press hard on below-budget performances.

Can you still enjoy the ride under such circumstances? It is possible to enjoy leadership in all circumstances. Should we just press until the storm is over or is life meant to be more tough than enjoyable?

I know the feeling. Many years ago as a young, successful, hardworking partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, I had to hear the following words from my three little boys: “Dad, you do not laugh enough.”

Here is the punchline – there will always be storms in a leader’s life. Some seasons have more storms than others. If you know who you are, where you are going, invest the right energy and time in the right relationships – the ones of highest priority – and you keep communication channels open, it is possible to enjoy any season and any period of storms.

Our followers deserve the best of us at all times. We may never allow the circumstances to steal our joy. If we, as leaders, do not have hope and do not enjoy the ride, how can we expect our followers to do it? Therefore, if you realise that you are not enjoying the season you are in at the moment, the first thing you need to do is invest some time in yourself.

Make sure you know who you are, what you are called to do and make sure the direction you are moving in is right. Spend more time with the highest priority individuals in your life, be recklessly honest with them and allow them to speak into your life. Schedule timeouts, even if it is just a long weekend, but make some time to reflect deeply on your life, your “company’s” direction and your passions.

Make a list of things you cannot change and pray on them. Make a list of things you should change and prioritise them. Then, make yourself accountable to someone you trust and execute this faithfully.

Leadership will always be tough. Some seasons are tougher than others. Leaders are tougher than the rest. But leaders who do not have the skill to enjoy it more, will not be sustainable and not be pleasant to follow.

Do not “do nothing” if you lack enjoyment. Reflect wisely and take the necessary, powerful, action steps to change your circumstances. Be tougher than the rest… and enjoy the ride more. It is worth it, your followers deserve it.

Until next time – lead deliberately and diligently.

Dawie Fourie is the founder of the African Leadership Institute.

Source : The Namibian