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The Leadership Sandwich

The Leadership Sandwich

Leading others is an honour and a privilege, but something that comes with personal and professional responsibility. The more junior staff in most companies look up to their leaders (or so it should be), and feel inspired and motivated to grow into that leadership role one day. They might equate leading with power, status and bundles of money, being your own boss and telling others what to do. This is the visual many junior employees might have about leadership. But is it that?

What followers might be overlooking is the fact that leaders are often caught between the top executive layer of the company and their subordinates. They have to become fluent translators or facilitators who receive orders from the top and have to break these down into simpler processes for their subordinates. When leaders are given tasks or projects from senior management they may not always agree with them, be inspired by them or have the freedom to decide when they need to be done by. This should not be the norm but there are situations that call for a “just make it happen” approach.

Emotions are infectious and tend to have a direct impact on everyone around us, so when a leader feels frustrated and concerned, he/she should control his/her emotions and not pass them on to their staff. A transformational leader knows the severe impact their emotions can have on their staff and are aware that negative emotions have a direct correlation on performance and the quality of work produced. Leaders have to buffer their emotions and sometimes even put on an award winning performance and fake their feelings so that their staff get excited about working on the project.

But what about the leader?

A leader might go through an emotional turmoil where they feel that there is some work dissonance, that they lack integrity and have even become inauthentic. Reoccurrence of these situations has a psychological impact that fast tracks things like anxiety, depression and burnout. It’s a silent, often unnoticed process that might go on and on and perhaps we regard it as the price leadership comes at?

Leaders need to be mindful of their duty to create positive change. This means that they need to act with care and be aware of their emotions and manage them appropriately.