Good Leaders Don’t Take Themselves Too Seriously
Randy Wolken, President & CEO
Life is certainly serious. But as a leader, don’t let yourself take it too seriously. During a typical day, you will likely make dozens of decisions. Some of them are difficult and others are quite easy. How you manage yourself during this process will impact the decisions, those around you, and your own happiness.
Good leaders learn to laugh at themselves. They come to see themselves as important but fallible. They understand that leading is an art and that we are all just doing our best with what we have today. They can visualize the long view. They must be able to put what they are working on into perspective.
It took me a while as a leader to learn that I needed to find ways to release tension for myself and others. When you are a leader – and this is true the higher you go up in an organization – you are confronted with many important decisions. It can start to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. What we do is serious – but we cannot take ourselves too seriously. We need to be gentler with ourselves – and others. We need to learn to enjoy the moment, smile, and laugh when we can. We need to be humble enough to know we will get some things wrong. When I take myself too seriously, I miss the opportunity to be open and available for what others offer me. I have learned to be serious without taking myself too seriously.
It’s important to focus on what is before us – in all its glorious messiness. We need to give our best in each moment, then we need to move on while we appreciate the journey of our lives as much as where we end up. As a leader, I don’t have all the answers. None of us do. We just need to make the most of each day.
Life is so short and precious. Look for opportunities in your day to be light-hearted. Look for ways to not let the seriousness of your decisions cause you to be too serious.
Are you able to let yourself be less serious? Can you let yourself enjoy the journey as well as see the destination? Can you let others make mistakes while helping them find ways to get better? Can you be serious without taking yourself too seriously?
Today will offer plenty of chances to be more light-hearted while leading. Enjoy today – it will only come around once.