NEWSLETTER | MENTOR ME 24/7
The Safety Pins of Leadership
Often we see or hear about an owner enjoying the perks of ownership. Perhaps you picture an NBA owner winning the NBA Championship. Last year it was Miami Heat owner Micky Arison. Micky Arison who owns the Heat truly got heat as owner of Carnival Cruise Lines. All of us remember those scenes CNN showed endlessly of that little tug boat bringing in that big cruise ship one slow mile after another. Imagine being the owner of the cruise line as the pictures went viral of people sleeping in make-shift tents on the deck, garbage and waste everywhere. Is it fun being an owner then?
When we place safety pins well, no one sees them. They are there holding something together, but no one has to know. Not everyone aspires to be a leader. Leaders want to hide their safety pins and followers don’t want to know they are there. What you don't see or hear with leaders is the immense
feeling of responsibility. The simple truth is that some leaders handle this responsibility better than others. Mayor Rudy Giuliani restored his reputation with his emotional stamina in the days following 9/11. Governor Deval Patrick took his turn in the spotlight of leadership as he led his state through the aftermath of the Boston bombing.
Mentally 21st Century leaders need to possess the ability to relentlessly chase a never-ending, always- moving target: consistency. To stay consistent during the chase, to get buy-in for a process that may take a week or a year that takes mental stamina. The level of responsibility becomes elevated as a leader. Whether you lead a team or a state, responsibility is elevated when all eyes are on you 24/7. It becomes elevated when your stock or your city hits a bump. It becomes elevated when you need to have mass layoffs to survive. It becomes elevated when you have to make tough decisions and make them fast. Yet all the while you need to keep those safety pins hidden from view.
That emotional stamina is essential as a leader. The biggest challenge as a leader is to keep looking forward: forward as a department, a company, or a city. As the leader you need to do what you need to do for your business or city to grow and thrive. In a press conference two days after the Boston bombing, Governor Patrick answered a reporter’s question with the word “MAYBE”. You need to communicate each step with confidence because everyone is watching you. You need that stamina, that toughness. 19th century life was tough in many ways. 20th century life was tough. Amongst all of the conveniences we have, 21st century leadership is tough. We need to keep those safety pins hidden from public view.
by Leslie Ungar