On a recent trip to Dallas, I thought I would end up bankrupt before I made it back home. Can you say, “Toll Roads?”
Every few miles, the highways were filled with big T’s.
The trip was a great reminder of an often overlooked fact. The longer you lead, the more toll it will take on you.
Let’s be honest, this leadership thing can beat you up. The toll comes in a couple of predictable ways.
The first toll shows up in the form of people. If you lead for decades, or even for a day, you will notice that people can be a drain. Unmet expectations, false pretenses, and selfish agendas, can all grind on a leader’s resolve. Just yesterday, I heard about a weary leader who is ready to throw in the towel because a couple of his former employees have defected and taken clients with them. Toll. Toll. Toll.
A second leadership toll booth comes in the area of problems. A lack of resources, strong competition, a downturn in the economy, and changing demands from consumers all require a reach into the glove box for some coins. That will be $1.50, please. Cha-ching!
If you lead long enough, you will discover you are on a toll road. There is a price to be paid, and you don’t want to approach the toll booth without having your money ready.
So what’s leader to do? Come back tomorrow and I will give you a couple of things to help you be prepared for the leadership tollbooth.
In the mean time, spend some time today and take an inventory on your energy level. Is your pace sustainable? Are your goals realistic? Are your resources adequate? Is your team capable and properly aligned?
Negative answers to those questions indicate one thing. You better have your wallet ready.
Why? Because leadership takes its toll.
What is one thing that consistently takes its toll on a leader?