So you’ve noticed something.
Your ability to lead well seems to fluctuate.
Some days (and seasons) you seem to be in top shape. You have energy and enthusiasm, a clear mind and your decision making is sharp.
But on other days (and in other seasons) you’re sluggish, fuzzy or so burdened down you feel like you can’t lead anything well.
What I’ve learned in leadership is that on most days, there are hidden factors at work. These hidden factors can make you excel, or they can completely work against you.
Knowing what’s at work in the background can be tremendously liberating. Once you realize what’s helping or hurting you, you can deal with it.
So what hidden factors threaten to make or break you as a leader?
9 Hidden Factors That Make or Break Leaders
Here are nine I’ve identified at work in my leadership. You’ll notice many have to do with a leader’s mind, while a few are more physical. You’ve likely seen them at work in the background of your life and leadership too. Understand them, and you’re ahead. Miss them, and you’re behind (again).
It should be no surprise so many of the factors are in your mind. Leadership, after all, is a mind game.
Work at the mental aspect of leadership and you’ll discover what many leaders have discovered: Changing your mind about how you lead, feel and think changes everything.
And while not all nine are critical issues, wise leaders know these are the factors that make or break them. So they make sure they leverage them to make them, not break them.
Anyone who has led anything remotely significant is familiar with the weight of leadership.
The weight of leadership is the sense of responsibility you carry that goes with your job.
The problem is it never turns off easily.
It follows you home. It accompanies you to bed. It travels with you on vacation.
It’s hard to shake the weight of leadership. You feel it because you are the leader, and you’re likely the leader because you’re the kind of person who feels it.
So what can help lift the weight of leadership? A few things:
Doing something fun (the power of distraction)
Talking to a friend or mentor who understands
When it’s appropriate, the weight of leadership can spur you toward leading better. But when it crushes you, all of the benefits of feeling responsible for what you lead disappear.
The weight of leadership never leaves leaders. Wise ones learn how to deal with it.
Many leaders run hard. But you can only run so hard so long.
For many of you, it’s been too long.
Any leader can run hard for a season, but even if you avoid burnout, eventually it becomes counterproductive to run hard all the time.
Your mood tanks. Your fatigue rises. Your productivity drops.
And—bottom line—it’s unsustainable.
Smart leaders ask themselves: Am I living in a way today that will help me thrive tomorrow? If not, why not?
Are you living in a way today that will help you thrive tomorrow?