Leaders Are People Too
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Sometimes we can forget that our leaders are people too.  They have feelings, concerns, and experiences like everyone else.  They are often asked to be “objective” and “impartial,” and in my experience, they do try to be both of these things.  However, they are people too.

How do leaders burn out?  What causes some leaders to thrive under stress and others to spiral and lose focus?  What can we do to help leaders thrive?  Organizations need to answer these questions to get the best out of their leaders.  Leaders need to be supported and assisted so they can do their best in guiding the outcomes of the company.  When leaders are helped during critical junctures, they perform better and can make a bigger impact on important outcomes.

Today’s economy is moving fast and is very demanding.  The level of stress now placed on leaders at all levels has never been more intense.  We ask more of leaders than ever before.  Doing so increases the risk of setbacks and failures, yet that is what we expect from leaders at each and every level.  When we see leaders as real people it can help assure them that we will be there for them when they take risks.  When senior leaders offer support to other leaders in an organization they provide a kind of safety net that is often needed to buffer setbacks.  Leaders at all levels need to see “the signs” evident in the actions of others so they can step in when needed and be available.

Just “being available” is one of the most important task senior leaders perform.  Listening and offering appropriate insights can be invaluable in any critical situation.  Even if our insights do not provide immediate outcomes – they show we care deeply and want to be of assistance.

On a personal note, life is filled with lots of challenges that go beyond work.  When leaders are in tune to these situations they can build real trust.  And, if we give support in tough times it usually returns to us when we are in need of others’ help.  It is true – give support to get support.  As a leader, we will definitely need it at times in our work.

From time to time, do you stop and recognize that your leaders are people too?  Do you stop and make yourself available to listen to what they are experiencing?  Can you offer a supportive ear and some pertinent insights to a leader in need?  Who else in your organization needs your help now so they can weather the storm of either their work or home life challenges?  It is important to periodically ask these questions and realize that leaders are people too.