Leaders Struggle, Too

Leaders struggle. Should leaders share their struggles with others? Steven Snyder’s book, Leadership and the Art of Struggle, inspired this guest blog post by Becky Robinson

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Leadership and the Art of the Struggle, posits that struggle is an unavoidable and positive force on each leader’s journey. It is only through embracing our struggles that we can grow to be stronger and even more effective as leaders.

And talking about our struggles can be an important part of the journey.

But how, when, and in what context can leaders share their struggles? Is it possible to share struggles with the people you are leading?

While I think it is important to let your team know you are human and to discuss struggle in general, you want to be careful about the specifics you choose to share.

Here are three ideas to consider when sharing leadership struggles.

Dig into the past for struggles to share. Even though you may have current struggles, it may not be helpful to share those with your team. Instead, you can share past struggles as a way to highlight learning, show progress, and encourage those who may be struggling with similar issues. It’s okay to let your team know you struggle, while maintaining distance by avoiding sharing specifics of current struggles.

Record current struggles to share in the future. Every lesson you learn now can be a gift to others…later. Use a personal journal to record your lessons and growth and wait until a significant amount of time has passed before sharing the struggles with those you are leading.

Find a trusted friend or coach to be a sounding board for current struggles. Venting to team members about struggles could cause serious problems for you as a leader. Instead, rely on a trusted friend or coach who can keep sensitive information confidential.

This week is the official launch of the book. You can buy it on Amazon or read a free preview and learn more at snyderleadership.com

Guest Post Requests: Separating the Gems from the Junk

What is a guest post? A guest post is an article written and published on someone else's website or blog.

Oh, you wouldn't believe the silliness I've seen in my Gmail accounts when it comes to requests to post on my blogs. I use the word "silly" loosely, the laziness is so rampant it's actually rather maddening.

Thankfully, I've sharpened my radar and can separate the gems from the junk.

3 Easy Things . . .

When I receive a request to guest post on one of my blogs, here are a few things I look for:

  • The requestor actually read the blog. A claim to be an avid reader falls flat with the suggestion that,"Don't Break Your Diet When Ordering Pizza" would be a perfect fit for the site. Liar.
  • The pitch is customized. A claim to have post titled "xxx" prepared soley for this blog falls flat when the same claim shows up in the two separate email accounts I maintain for each of my blogs. Caught.
  • Grace. Arguing with me when I respond that a submission does not align with the focus or direction of the site or speak to readers the way I want it to is fruitless. It's my blog.

If I receive a request that I believe is sincere, I will respond but if the requester is not going to take their request or my time seriously I will not.

 . . . . To Help Me Help You Help Me

Here, on this blog, guest posts do not occur without a personal connection and smart content. It wasn't always that way but I've learned the difference between quantity and quality and, for now, this works for me.

Now, Women of HR is a different story. As a multi-contributor blog, Women of HR exists because of our regular writers and guest contributors. Some of our best contributions started with a cold-email. It can be done. But you have to be serious about it.

I need you for your voice, your ideas and your diversity. Whether it be for exposure, a place to write or a community to join, you need me too.

You don't have to have your own blog to submit. You don't even have to think you are an awesome writer (hint: you are better than you think you are). If you have the desire to write, are willing to work with me and my suggestions, we'll get a post up that will be well received. Guaranteed.

Write from the heart, do your homework and it could be a match made in <blog> heaven.

Photo credit: iStockphoto