What?? How can leadership be about being uncomfortable? Isn’t confidence a key characteristic of leadership? Yes and…. only a confident person is willing to sit with discomfort.

One of my Vistage members reminded me of this last week. We were talking about some changes he is making in his organization, specifically around allowing others to take responsibility for decisions and allowing them to succeed or fail without his intervention.

He was expressing how uncomfortable he was in doing this – his exact words were, “this is difficult, frustrating and not my happy place”. His happy place, aka his comfortable place, is as a doer. At the same time, he wants to continue to grow this business and invest in other businesses. He knows this will only come with leverage, i.e. building a leadership team and allowing them to lead without his direct oversight.

When I challenged him on his statement about being frustrated and unhappy, wondering if he was planning to go back to “doing”, he got angry. He said, “I have no plans to change anything. I am okay being uncomfortable, I am simply acknowledging that I am”.

Another reminder, happiness in the long run often requires being uncomfortable in the short-term; and having the confidence to simply be there.



Elisa K. Spain

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