This “course”, has no real manual. Much of what you learn is through your own experience. You can gain more insight by reading about the topic or by discussing real experiences with other people in a leadership position. The journey should likely have so many positive experiences and interactions with the players on a team or with employees in an organization.
At the same time, a person in a leadership position has to make personnel decisions that will not please everyone all of the time. The leader has to make evaluations about performance that might be different from how the player or the employee, see their own performance. The leader’s acceptance of this fact that at times others will not agree with you is critical to your enjoyment of your position.
Recently, the principal at Rock Bridge High School (Columbia, MO), Jennifer Rukstad, announced that she would be coming the assistant superintendent for secondary education in the school district. She has been a great principal and a great leader. The school culture is one in which the faculty and the students want to be there. In her announcement about the change in her position she made this statement:
“The emotions can run the gambit. There are those feeling sorrow, those feeling elation, and everything in between.”
This brings me to my main point. She mentioned there are some employees that could have “feelings of elation.” As successful of a principal that she has been, she realizes that it’s possible that some employees feel that way. It falls under you can’t please everyone with the decisions or evaluations that a leader makes. I believe the acceptance of this concept is a real strength in a leader. A leader needs to make a decision themselves: Do I lead from behind or do I lead from in front of the pack? What I mean by this is do you lead by reacting to what others may think or do you lead by holding firm to your values and principals?
The leader needs to have open dialog with the people they coach or work with. The leader should communicate in an honest, direct, and approachable way. The leader should communicate in a proactive way when possible, rather than just reacting to or ignoring a problem. The leader has to expect some resistance at times in a competitive environment. This is not “T-ball.” The leader needs to be an ally to themself.