“The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” – This is the statement often made by small underweight boxers and the “underdog” sports teams when they face a heavily favored opponent.
What’s true for boxer’s and sports teams is true for leaders. When it comes to leaders the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and the easier they fall; unless they are tough.
As a leader there will always be people who want to tear you down to their level. Your success and influence reminds them of what they wish they had, so they make efforts to pull you down to their level to make themselves feel better.
When you’re a leader people look for ways to point out that you’re a fraud, that you don’t practice what you preach, and that you’re not “all you’re hyped up to be.” This is where a leader has the opportunity to display his toughness. It’s his time to show he has thick skin, that he’s got what it takes to be the “bigger” person, and see if he has the ability to respond (not react) appropriately.
After five months of hard work at one nonprofit organization I had developed solid relationships with many of the employees at our organization, and even though I wasn’t the most paid and didn’t have a leadership title, I was influential to many people at our organization.
My non-leader peers took that opportunity to try to tear me down; they did what they could to make me look dumb, naive, and non-intelligent in front of other people in an attempt to diminish my leadership ability.
Fortunately I had worked hard at improving my self-confidence as a leader so I could respond (not react) appropriately and I always managed to keep my cool. I had grown thick skin and was tough enough to continue to be a leader and influence others at my organization.
Leaders are tough!