Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Only Way Out

Photo by Mahatma4711

"Remember, you chose this."

Those words were spoken to me nearly twenty years ago. I was complaining about a difficult leadership situation that called for personal sacrifice on my part. The friend I was talking with listened quietly and then responded with those few words.

I think about those words when I encounter emerging leaders who are hungry for power. Accepting a position of leadership or management does not increase one's power. It does, however, increase our responsibility. Choosing to serve in these roles means voluntarily accepting responsibility for a variety of issues that not everyone else wants to deal with.

Effective managers and leaders both know an important truth about dealing with these responsibilities - to quote the 12th century poet, Akka Mahadevi, "The only way out is through."

When I start to feel a little thorn of discomfort and that all-to-human tendency to avoid what is is most likely THAT issue that should have my immediate attention. The only way out of the problem is to address it. Particularly for leaders and managers, the responsibilities we've accepted are unlikely to resolve themselves and will only grow worse if ignored.

Remember, you chose this.

How do you motivate yourself to tackle the uncomfortable responsibilities?

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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