The Highs and Lows of Being in Leadership

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

According to Forbes.com, leadership is defined as: a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal. For me, leadership has many definitions, and comes with many responsibilities. There are many¬†benefits to being in leadership, and sometimes it can really SUCK! From afar, being in a leadership position can look glamorous, some may think it comes with power, prestige, and privilege. Now I’m not here to give you a seminar on how to be a better leader. I’m going to give you a real inside look on what it’s like to be in leadership. I’m going to tell you about the sucky side and some of the things that makes me want to kick a hole in the nearest wall almost everyday.Whether you’re a leader on your job or you’re in organizational leadership, there are highs and lows of holding that position. How do I know anything about leadership? Well, I have 10+ years of organizational leadership and management experience.

I’m a retail manager by day, and blogger by night. I’m proud of my accomplishments in my current job, even though my degree has absolutely nothing to do with my current job. I started out as a sales lead, was promoted to assistant manger and 1 year ago this month was promoted to manager. It’s not my first choice for a job but it pays my bills, offers great benefits, and is helping me fund my future career. I’m grateful for the experiences and lessons I’ve learned…the good and the bad. I’ve also discovered that it takes a strong person to be in a leadership role. The highs can make you feel good about your position while the lows will make you want to run and hide under your desk…forever! Whether it’s in the retail industry, ministry, or organizational, leadership can be very emotionally, mentally, and physically draining.

Let’s talk about those lows first, so we can end on a positive note. ūüėČ

Picture courtesy of LinkedIn.com

(picture courtesy of linkedin.com)

Lows

There is no such thing as working 9 – 5, eight hour days do not exist. I usually arrive to work between 7:30 – 8:00am and don’t make it home until about 6:00pm or 6:30pm everyday. That’s almost 11 hours of work, of which I’m only getting paid for 8. Whenever someone asks what time I get off work and I say 5:00pm, their response is, “Oh so I’ll see you around 7:00pm”, because anyone that knows me knows that I never leave work on time.

Being a leader can often feel like being a babysitter because you are, essentially, responsible for everyone that is under your supervision. I spend 75% of my time reminding my team to essentially do their job. I’m always telling them the same thing over and over again. I have to watch them to make sure they don’t stick their fingers in any sockets or put any foreign objects in their mouths, just like babies. Well, not literally, but you get the picture.

Even when you have a so-called off day, you’re still working. If something goes wrong, or they need help understanding something, the head person in charge is the first person they call. My phone rings almost everyday during a time when I’m not at work, with a question from an employee that is usually not important. Now I do have some that will take the time to figure it out themselves. Then there are those who act as if their heads will explode if they stop and take a minute to think and at least try to figure it out. Nope, call the boss because if no one else knows, the boss has the answer. Who cares if the boss is on vacation, surely he/she doesn’t mind taking a call from work.

Clearly you are the ONLY person that knows how to anything and resolve all issues, because they don’t ask anyone but YOU for help. If you’re the leader, you’re the go-to person for EVERYTHING! From fixing the computer when it freezes to unclogging the toilet, you’re the one person that is expected to know how to do it all…even if you don’t, the expectation is so high you’ll fake it (no pun intended). You are expected to make all the hard decisions.

Leaders are the protector of all things. At the end of the day, you are responsible for everything that does and doesn’t happen. When one of your employees or organization members messes up, a good leader will usually do whatever they can to cover for them. How well they do their job and the knowledge they have about the task at hand is a reflection of your leadership skills. And you often end of taking the blame for whatever mistakes have been made. For example, I had a customer to get upset with me, on my off day, because I didn’t solve her problem as fast as she thought I should. Instead of being upset with my employee that was actually at work, she wanted to submit a complain on me because my employee made a mistake. Never mind that I was helping resolve this issue on my own personal time.

Because you are the HPIC (Head¬†Person In Charge)¬†you are¬†expected to be available at all times. It’s like you are expected to sit on phone and wait for someone to call so you can be of service to them. You sacrifice a lot of your personal time for your career, which may cause you¬†to miss a lot functions and events with your family and friends. You never leave work on time, and unfortunately people get use to you¬†rarely being available because of work.

People like to be rewarded like dogs love getting Scooby snacks. In the past, I’ve held friendly competitions between my employees to motivate them to work harder or achieve a company goal. But lately they actually expect me to reward them for doing what they were hired to do…WORK! One of my employees asked me to buy them cupcakes as a reward for being hard workers. Ummm excuse me?! You want me to reward you for doing what you were expected to always do every time you come to work? No ma’am! That’s crazy! Yes, your hard work will eventually pay off in one way or another. It is a leaders job to keep the morale and everyone’s spirit lifted in the workplace, to motivate and inspire their employees to perform at their best. What they shouldn’t expect is a reward or a pat on the back for simply showing up for work and doing their job.

Now let’s talk about the highs, the benefits of being in leadership. I promised you I’d end on a positive note, so here it is:

Highs

I make more money than everyone and I get to delegate to my team, most of the tasks I don’t want to do. J/K… My 10+ years of leadership experience has taught me many skills that I can use in every area of my life. No matter what career I choose, because this is not my last stop, I can carry all my skills and qualifications with me and apply them to help me do my job better. As stressful as it can be, I enjoy being in leadership. I believe my job puts me in the position to not only motivate my people to do a better job, but it also puts me in a position to uplift and empower them in other areas of their lives. Because all eyes are on me, I can set an example and inspire someone else to do better. Also, being chosen as a leader, and having others allow you to lead them, is an honor. It means that someone, well several people actually, think that you have what it takes to WIN! You have the ability to take that organization or business to the next level. You are seen as an ambitious, determined, trustworthy and dependable person. So to all my leaders out there that are about to run head first into that wall, STOP! Just remember that you’re in that position because people believe in you and your leadership abilities and that should make you feel pretty darn good…until tomorrow at least! ūüėČ

As always…Keep Laughing!

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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

The Haves vs The Have Nots

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Can I Laugh Now? *Encouraging You To See The Humor In Life’s Embarrassing Moments*

Some people crave it. Some will do whatever it takes to get it. Some people are addicted to it and don’t know how to let go. Your parents want you to have, society thinks you can’t live without it. EDUCATION! We’ve been taught that without it, we’re nothing; that without, we will never have any of the luxuries that life has to offer. But what is education? Well, when most people think of education they think about knowledge that is acquired at a college or university. But Yahoo provides what I think is a more accurate definition of education: An instructive or enlightening experience. So Yahoo is suggesting that you don’t have to go to college to be educated? How dare they! Everyone knows that the only way to be educated and make lots of money and enjoy success is to go to college and get a degree…right? Hmph! Maybe we should rethink how label people as “educated.” I use to say, “I want an educated man.” Meaning I wanted a man who went to college. That was such an uneducated statement.

429896_10100141721306550_1095595369_n I have a college degree, but I’m a horrible speller…spell check and auto correct are my BFFs. I have a college degree, but I still use my fingers and toes to count. I have a college degree, but I still have those infamous “blonde” moments (sorry blondes). I have a college degree, but I still make stupid life decisions. I have a college degree…okay whatever, you get it. Having a college degree doesn’t automatically make one smart. In fact, there are very few people who actually use their degrees after college; meaning that many people work in fields that aren’t even related to what they went to school for. I know because I’m one of those people.

So why do so many people go after a “textbook education?” Why do so many high school students bust their butts to get good grades in order to get into a good school and receive a “textbook education?” Because people are taught that is the only way to make it. Not true. Now don’t get me wrong, I would not trade my education, my degree, my time in college, for anything. But 80 percent of my education obtained while pursuing my degree didn’t come from the classroom, it came from the experiences I had with the people I met, the organizations I was involved in, and the unexpected roadblocks and heartaches during that time. I learned the importance of diversity through the people I met, I learned how to be a good leader through the organizations I was involved in, I learned how to be strong all by myself when I was going through heartbreak. There were two people who would jump in their car without hesitation and drive an hour just to bring me what I needed or just to spend time with me, so I learned who I could and couldn’t call and depend on if I were ever in trouble. I learned that no matter how old I get, I will always be my mommy’s baby, and I’m fine with that–through meeting other people I saw that not everyone can claim that status with their mothers and that was a learning experience in itself. I learned that people will take advantage of you, if you let them, and you have to stake your claim in this world. Unfortunately nothing will be thrown in your lap, and just because you have a degree and no matter how hard you worked for it, people will not look at you and differently, you still have to prove yourself and your worth.

Education in any form is a powerful tool. Whether you’re educated through the formal teachings at a higher learning institution, educated through your life experiences or travel, or educated by the streets, you can use it to your advantage. But what you must always keep in mind is that you cannot put yourself above anyone else, thinking that your “textbook education” makes you smarter. I say that because I have seen it before. You are not guaranteed a job straight out of college. You may have to start in a job that think you’re too good for because you have a college degree. I had an associate that was in desperate need of a job, but she refused to work at certain places because, in her words, “Girl I have a college degree, I’m not doing that.” So she continued to eat hotdogs and noodles for dinner and borrow money from everyone because she couldn’t swallow her pride and take that right now job until God decided to bless her with a different position. You ever get upset because it seems like those without a college degree, the have nots, get better opportunities or make more money? Maybe it’s because you have no idea how hard they have worked to get to that point. Yes, you worked hard for your education and degree, but maybe they took a different route but still worked just as hard. No matter how much education you have, whether you’re part of the haves or the have nots, you cannot promote yourself before God says it’s time.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† “For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled. And he who humbles himself shall be promoted.” ~Luke 14:11¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† You are not promoted until God promotes you!

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Until next time Laughers…Keep Laughing!

~Kitta