Some leaders face brutal situations, functioning in what you or I may think are unbearable circumstances. When you operate day after day under huge levels of stress, even the most centered person feels it.
The questions become, how long can you take it? When is enough really enough? Why can some leaders endure the adversity, while others crumble?
Values are often the differentiator. You can put up with a tremendous amount of hardship if you believe in and feel aligned with the situation. Yes, it’s demanding and can cause wear and tear on your nerves. But you can keep going if you associate with the underlying mission.
On the other hand, if you are at odds with the scenario, every day your tolerance level will diminish a little more. You will eventually come to the moment of truth where you need to objectively evaluate your ultimate tolerance limit.
One leader I know is in a losing situation like this. He signed on for something different than the reality. He bought into the mission of the organization, but the board is reactive and does not embody the underlying principles. The environment is toxic and he crumbles a little bit every day.
When is enough really enough?
He is frustrated because he still believes passionately in the organizational mission. We’ve clarified the disparity in values and the lack of alignment with the board. We’re identifying how much he’s willing to do, and if, when and how he will exit.
Obviously, the key is to avoid taking on situations like this from the start. But it doesn’t always happen that way. It’s easy to get sucked in when we see the potential of a great situation and rationalize the warning signals.
Think about your values as you evaluate new leadership roles. If you are true to what you believe in, they won’t let you down.
Have a great week!