Lead Through It
He hated the sight of blood, so it’s odd he was in this position. He was embroiled in a war. As a matter of fact, he was the leader. His official title was Commander in Chief.
The Union, under his command, had lost a significant battle called Bull Run. Because of his decision to try and reunite a nation and his willingness to fight a war, people died. The fact that people were dying wreaked havoc on the soul of Abraham Lincoln.
To quote Michael Beschloss,
…Lincoln would ask an old circuit-riding friend, Congressman Daniel Voorhees of Indiana, “Doesn’t it strike you as…[odd] that I, who couldn’t cut the head off a chicken, who was sick at the sight of blood, should be cast into the middle of a Great War, with blood flowing all about me?” (Beschloss, Presidents at War, pg.195)
Lincoln hated blood, but he had to make decisions that resulted in the very thing he hated.
Leaders don’t get to choose what problems roll up on their doorsteps. Leaders do get to choose how to deal with those problems that appear in their lives. Lincoln didn’t get to choose whether the South would secede from the Union. He didn’t get to choose if the South would launch on Fort Sumter. (Don’t @ me on this.) But he had to deal with the results of those actions.
As a leader, you may not enjoy giving speeches in front of your team, but certain circumstances will call for it. Embrace the role.
You may not enjoy having to fire people. Yet, people do stupid stuff and inevitably, changes have to be made. Deal with the issues; it’s why you’re the leader. Changing the product line due to a downturn in the economy may not have been in your plans, but it’s the problem that’s on your doorstep. As the leader, you deal with it.
Leadership will force you to address and deal with the things you really thought you could avoid. It doesn’t work like that.
Embrace the role.
Know your calling.
Don’t shrink back from the stuff swirling around you.
Be like Lincoln…lead through whatever is presented to you.
Brian Sanders serves as Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio. He regularly writes and speaks on leadership topics.
His new book, “Leadership Endurance,” can be purchased HERE.