Is being a leader a good idea?

Portrait of serious male leader standing with folded arms. Mid adult Caucasian businessman looking at camera with confident expression, female colleague standing behind. Leadership concept

Have you ever wondered if being a leader is such a good idea? Or, if you are in a strong leadership position, have you ever wondered if you made the right choice.

Leadership sounds so great. However, it’s not the ‘piece of cake’ so many people think it is.

Recently I got an email from one of the graduates from our Total Leadership Connections Program who had a seemingly perfect promotion as the COO of a major company. All was good during the honeymoon phase and recently all hell has broken out.

“Sylvia, I made a dreadful mistake…

This job is high profile and pays well.  However, I am now learning it’s like living in a hornet’s nest. There is more in-fighting going on and office politics than I ever expected.


Instead of being able to step into the role of a leader, my life has morphed into simply being both the fire marshal and the fireman.

Every day there is scorched earth because of the backstabbing and nastiness. I didn’t know the person I replaced had left so much negativity and nastiness behind for me to clean up.

I don’t know if I can handle this crap.

My wife said I am sullen and introspective all the time and even the kids are asking why daddy is always in a bad mood.

I know we learned a ton about how teams operate when I was in TLC and that has helped. However, it’s the day in and day out fires that have me annoyed and frustrated. Question: How long will it take till I have a team of people who can collaborate and create together without the turmoil.


Hope to hear from you soon,


Here was my reply to this very capable and competent leader:

Dear Dan,

You are expressing the thoughts of so many leaders who must use the ‘ROTO-ROOTER’ method to clean out the ‘stuck plumbing.’

We can go into the details of office politics later.

For now, I really want you to take a really deep breath and think about the core of what it means to be a leader.  You can’t address the specifics until you rethink your personal mission statement and why you were so excited about taking this job in the first place, money, and prestige aside.

I hope you find this helpful.

Leading is not for the faint of heart. Leaders live dangerously, all the time. Frankly, it’s something you just need to get used to. Yes, it’s romantic and dramatic and exciting to be a leader. You are looked up to at work, in the community and hopefully at home also.

Leading can be inspirational and you can have a major impact on the lives of those who work with and for you. You can help to build fortunes and increase the bottom line.

Now, onto risk assessment.

You can and will take risks that may even jeopardize your career and impact your personal life. This is a tough place to be when most of us have been taught not to rock the boat.

Leaders need to learn how to meet resistance while disrupting the status quo. For, I promise you, there will be resistance to change. And when the resistance comes most leaders will revert to playing it safe and the old way.

I can tell you that as you sort through the office politics mess and decide you are ready to take the risk to plunge in and make the changes, you may get burned while attempting to put out the fires.

I want to suggest that there are ways to make a difference, strategies that can help with the turnaround.

You learned many of them when we talked about the 13 behavior patterns that come with us from our first organization, the family and into our present organization at work.

Now, you are ready for the advanced session of how to get your team to be more accountable, more productive and well….. just plain nicer with each other.

Please review Chapter 7 in Don’t Bring It To Work.

The title of the chapter is Talking Together. After reading we can reconnect. You just need a bit of a refresher on how to help your team surface the hidden conflict that has them so riled up.

Leadership is complex, challenging and creative. I know you have the core strength to make your job and your team spectacular.

Keep going and keep growing,


Sylvia Lafair

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