It is April first, and no one has fooled me yet, and I stress the word “yet.” I love practical jokes and have had the privilege of executing some and being the recipient of some. One of my friends is so good with practical jokes, I managed to call a truce with him so that we could end our years of subtle torture toward each other.
As we think about April Fool’s pranks, I want to highlight five foolish things that seem to trip us up as leaders.
- We Believe We Are Invincible. For some reason, as we journey through years of leading people, we begin to think that rest is for the weak, fun is silly, and we stop practicing healthy boundaries that protect our health. We believe we have super powers. The mission overtakes our reason, and we abandon the things that keep us replenished and healthy.
- We Believe We Are Entitled. After being an effective leader for a while, we begin to believe the wonderful things people say about us, and we take on a larger than life persona and believe the rules don’t apply to us. This mindset never ends well.
- We Isolate Ourselves. Somehow, we conclude that no one understands our roles and our lives, so we just pull away from the people who God has placed in our lives for support. We talk about connection and vulnerability, but we don’t practice it.
- We Take Responsibility for Everyone. I have found that people love it when a person will take their responsibilities and own them. I know too many leaders, me being one of them, who have many proverbial “monkeys on our back” that were never intended to be there. Our ability to solve problems can easily become a habit of owning other’s problems.
- We Say Yes Way Too Much. When we say yes, we are silently saying no to something. We need to say no to multiple things every day so that we can practice saying yes to the main things. It is ok to disappoint people. Harming people is never good but hurting someone’s feelings by saying no to a request is part of life.
As you navigate your role as a leader, try to identify one of the foolish habits that sucks you in and have a conversation with a trusted friend about it. As you do this, you will fight isolation and practice vulnerability. Don’t be fooled. Live and lead wisely.