Accept an organizational leadership role and enter a crucible.
A crucible is a ceramic or porcelain container within which other materials are smelted--a process where material is subjected to high temperatures and pressures. The word crucible has come to represent a severe test--one that shapes a person, breaking or making them.
A crucible comes with the leadership role.
- You will be consistently, sometimes unintentionally and occasionally willfully misunderstood, no matter how much effort you put into clear communication.
- A variety of forces will compete, yea demand, your attention. The more you accomplish, the more these forces will try to shift your attention away from what matters.
- The mistakes that others make are assigned to you. You have to own the problem and accept the responsibility simply because you are the leader.
- The difficulties that your people face become your difficulties because they affect your organization's ability to fulfill its mission.
- Every action, every word is scrutinized. Some people choose to dislike you simply because you fill a leadership role.
- They communicate, knowing they will be misunderstood, and use misunderstanding as opportunity to listen and then communicate yet again.
- They reduce their role to its essentials and then make sure they have a life rhythm that keeps them focused on completing what must be done.
- They understand that they embody their organization because they are a leader. The mistakes of others ARE their mistakes. They turn these mistakes into opportunities--opportunities to improve, to teach, and to get it right.
- They have sincere sympathy for the life struggles faced by people with whom they work. They do not get sucked into the insanity of others, however, remaining aware that this may be misperceived as uncaring.
- They understand that their role carries a level of loneliness. No-one can completely understand what it means to sit in the leaders' chair.