Three Things No One Told You About Being A Leader

Leadership isn't about earning a big title or being in charge—it's about caring for those on your team. Still, many leaders fall for the leadership misconceptions that exist in pop culture. They think of leaders as self-involved, absent, unkind or micro-managing.

Kristin Hendrix, an executive who helps develop authentic leaders, says the true nature of leadership isn't the only aspect that's misconstrued. Hendrix says there are three sides of leadership that are seldom talked about. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share her three unexpected leadership lessons.

1. You will be watched. When you are a leader, be prepared to be in a fishbowl, says Hendrix. It's human nature to observe, analyze and draw conclusions. As a leader, Hendrix didn't realize that she would be "on" all the time. She advises that if you are in an open floor plan, like she is, to be mindful when you have meetings and hallway conversations. You're being watched more than you may realize.

2. You will be held to a higher standard. There may be more leeway and flexibility in some areas for leaders. For example, Hendrix used to have to clock her time regularly. Now, she's expected to manage her schedule and get the job done with little oversight as to how and where that happens. As a leader, the good and bad choices we make are amplified and magnified as we rise in an organization. The higher we are, the larger that number grows. Hendrix says this can include other leaders, employees, competitors or even the public keeping an eye out.

3. You'll be lonely. When someone befriends you or offers an opinion, what is your first thought? Likely, it isn't "I wonder what they want from me" or "Are they just telling me what they think I want to hear?" Hendrix isn't suggesting those are the first thoughts that cross every leader's mind but when you are in positions of greater authority and your decisions affect the jobs and pay of others, it's only natural for that to influence how they engage. Hendrix admits she doesn't always know someone's motives. She has been lied to and disappointed. Instead of letting that influence how she shows up with others, she assumes good intent and learns the lesson about that one individual if intentions are otherwise

The longer you hold a leadership position, the more you lose touch with who you were when you first started your career. If you only connect with other leaders, you might be missing diversity in input and feedback. Hendrix encourages leaders not to live in a bubble and to find ways to connect with people at all levels of their organization. What has surprised you about being a leader? Email us at TinaF@ppai.org.

Source: Kristin Hendrix is an experienced executive who designs, builds and transforms teams to help organizations develop new capabilities in data, analytics and technology. As a published writer and public speaker, Hendrix has used storytelling and a systemic approach to coach and develop authentic leaders.

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