The Problem With Comfort
We are comfortable with consistency. We like it when we know what to expect in our lives. We have our favorite eating spots, our favorite vacation destinations and the familiar friends with whom we like to spend time. These things generally bring us peace and security. They are our comfort zone. The problem is that effective leadership is not always comfortable. A seasoned CEO of a large corporation recently shared with me about what his typical day looked like. He said, "I spend my day in meetings that are incredibly diverse. I have to decide when to take risks, when to step up and when to step back. I must define what is urgent and what needs more time. Every meeting I attend is different from the one before. Many times I must balance several decisions and opportunities with making the time to invest in our people."
He continued, "My day is rarely easy but I know that, almost always, the decisions I make will impact our people. I don't have the luxury of staying in the safe space of knowing all the answers or the definite outcome of a situation. I have had to become okay with failing from time to time. I realize that all leaders will fail and if we live our lives afraid of that failure, we will rob our team of vital growth opportunities and strong leadership."
It is important to understand that effective leadership is not always easy or safe. We will fail as leaders. We will make wrong decisions. Good leadership is not about making all the right calls in every situation. It is about having the courage to take risks, and then to own all of our decisions. It is about being self-aware and pushing ourselves to do the hard things and make the hard calls. It is about learning from our mistakes and growing every day as a leader.
If we find ourselves refusing to become uncomfortable as leaders, we probably are not leading well. But when we choose to lead outside of our comfort zone we will make a difference.
Dr. Larry Little, CEO