How to prepare for leadership

This question came across my desk today

How did you prepare to be in a leadership role? What advice would you give to young adults looking into leadership positions?

Here’s what I said:

Model after the leader you admired or wish you had. Some people forget what it’s like before being in the leader role. Keep that close and you’ll make better decisions and people will be lining up to be on your team.

But after thinking about this more, there are a few things I’d add onto that advice.

For starters, it’s ok not to want to be in the leader role.

Being a leader oftentimes means spending more time on the people side of the job than doing the work that kept you coming back day after day.

The other part of this is sometimes the people side of the job gets personal, and you have to be ready for that too. Sometimes the personal is happy like a new baby. And sometimes it’s sad like a cheating spouse and the divorce that follows.

Many people will tell you to try to set boundaries and keep home at home but food leaders know that line is blurry at best. We’re human and even the most skilled compartmentalizers can’t fully avoid having their work performance impacted by life.

That's just the nature of the beast. And because you're human, you won't always get everything right. And that's ok.

Understanding all of these things and being transparent on them with your teams goes a long way to making a good leader.