Wednesday, May 24, 2017

With Whom Can I Talk When I'm Struggling?

There are some disturbing statistics quoted in Dr. Henry Cloud's book The Power of the Other: The Startling Effect Other People Have on You... He describes situations in which executives and other leaders often can't share their difficulties. For a variety of reasons, we don't talk with others about what's bothering us:

  • it's inappropriate to talk with staff members about other staff members
  • we avoid appearing vulnerable, frail and burned out; we have to appear strong and lead past others' insecurities, fears and uncertainties
  • we want to appear to have the answers and the solutions rather than ignorance, ambiguity and uncertainty
  • in moments of our own insecurity, we don't want the appearance that we've been a fraud all along
  • it appears risky to talk with board members (or other superiors) who have the decision-making ability to maintain our employment
  • others who haven't experienced the pressure of leadership don't understand with what we're struggling 
  • other leaders are seen as competitors and could take advantage of any perceived weakness
  • other leaders aren't trustworthy to keep confidence
  • no time to explain the whole history and set of circumstances that create the sleeplessness and anxiety

Perhaps you have your own reasons. I'd love to hear them. I'd also love to hear if you can talk to your board members about your struggles. What about your peer councils? How often can you share the really big issue that keeps you awake at night?

When we can't share, these issues may fester inside us and come out as anger, addictions and other unhealthy situations. Here's the stats:
  • 80% of us don't have a place to be 100 percent honest and vulnerable about struggles, conflicts, needs and weaknesses
  • 80% of us don't have anyone or a group totally committed to our growth and well-being as a leader
  • 80% of us in the last year admit to having 'burnout, loss of energy, difficulty getting motivated, concentration or focus problems, anxiety or stress, depression, addiction or other habit, sleep problems, etc.' at a significant level that could be treated clinically.
If you fall into one of these situations, please find a trustworthy person who's in your corner. Get a solid relationship that can help you be grounded. And give your spouse a rest who may be your one confidante at this time.

A business coach can be helpful. A well-designed peer council can be helpful. You might consider an advisory board to be open with, if the board of directors feels just a tad bit uncomfortable. 

No comments:

Post a Comment