In Action, Change, Leaders

“Astrophysicists assure us the universe has no center; therefore, you cannot be it.” – David McCullough, Jr.

A lot is expected of leaders.  Sometimes people in leadership roles feel like they’re supposed to know how to do everything, how to handle every situation, what to say to anyone at any time, etc.  It can be, and often is, completely overwhelming and can make even the best leaders feel inadequate.

Some of the most successful leaders I know have become successful largely because they’ve managed not to fall victim to that way of thinking.  They’ve managed to clearly identify and accept what they are able to do well and what they are not.  Then they act accordingly.

The best leaders understand their own weaknesses and shortcomings, and instead of trying to hide them or fake their way through it, they get help.  They bring people into their organizations that can do the things they can’t, or they find someone outside their organizations who can help.  Their concern is simply that the thing in question is done well, not that they themselves have to do it to prove their worth.

I’m not suggesting that if you struggle in an area as a leader that you shouldn’t ever try to get better, or that you don’t ever need to develop new skills.  Of course we always have to improve, evolve, etc.  I’m simply saying that you cannot possibly be great at everything.  You can’t even be “good enough” at everything.  And that’s OK.

Think about yourself as a leader.  What knowledge are you lacking?  What skill are you missing?  Look around your organization.  Is there anybody else with that knowledge or that skill?  Are you using that person’s knowledge or skills to their fullest?  Have you allowed them to help fill in your gaps?

If nobody in the organization can help where you struggle, where else can you go?  Can you find & hire somebody to fill those needs?  Maybe, although these days that sometimes feels like a huge challenge.  Is there anyone outside your organization who can help?  Maybe it’s a freelancer, or some other kind of outsourced provider.

Whatever the specifics, the point is this:  you cannot do everything at an exceptional level.  You maybe can’t even do very many things at an exceptional level.  You need to understand where you’re exceptional, and where you need help.  Then make a plan and figure out how to fill in the open spaces.  Good luck.

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