SUCCESS: 4 Tips for Being a Mentally Tough Leader
When Art Williams started Primerica, known back then as A.L. Williams, he came up against a lot of criticism. We’re talking about organized PR campaigns, lawsuits and lobbying efforts that basically painted Art to be something only slightly less sinister than Satan himself.
They said he was a con man and a crook who was pulling people away from good, reputable life insurance companies and getting them mixed up with a fly-by-night scam that was so poorly funded it was sure to go under soon. It was all pretty horrific and, as a young guy, watching it happen, I knew there was no way in the world I’d ever survive such an onslaught of hate and negativity. But Art? He seemed energized by it. And the more they attacked him, the more energized he became. Art knew that he was right. The other side had to make the attacks personal because Art won on the facts. He is, hands down, the most mentally tough person I’ve ever known.
It took me a little longer to build up that toughness. I was raised to be a peacemaker. To this day, I still hate confrontation. But I also know as a leader, being tough is necessary in order to be effective. Think about it, all of the great leaders—men like Churchill, Lincoln and Jefferson—aren’t remembered for what they did when things were easy. They are remembered for what they did during times of turmoil and divisiveness. So are the not-so-great leaders.
The (sad) honest truth is, when you’re in a leadership role—whether it’s as president of the PTA or president of the free world—there is always going to be someone who disagrees with your ideas, policies and actions. Some of those people are going to go to great lengths to try to destroy you. If you haven’t grown a thick skin, they very well may. You don’t want that to be your legacy. That’s why it’s imperative to develop mental and emotional toughness when you make the decision to take on a leadership role. Getting tough is a process that takes some time, but there are a few things you can incorporate right now to get on the right path.
Read my four tips to being a mentally tough leader: http://www.success.com/blog/john-addison-when-the-world-seems-against-you-here-are-4-tips-for-being-a-mentally-tough-leader