When the Leader is the Tired One


Michael Warren

September 16, 2021

September 16, 2021

We have talked before here in the Iron Blog about the leader’s responsibilities when their people are tired. And because leaders always should put their people first, it would be worth your time to go back and read that blog here.

But what if the leader is the one who is tired? What if the leader is the exhausted one? The leader still has responsibilities, but they are different. There are three basic responsibilities - 2 prior to getting tired and 1 at the time.

Before the time you’re exhausted - the first requirement is that you check your ego. Many of us believe (hand raised here) that no one can do the job as good as we can. When nobody else measures up to our standards, we are much less likely to get the rest that we need. Side note: if this is truly the case, that no one else in the agency can do the job as good as we can, there is probably a problem. Either with the people we are hiring or in our view of others. Most likely it’s the latter.

Second responsibility before we get tired - prepare our people to do our job. I mean really do our job. Not some fill in for a day and handle groundball type work. I’m talking about actually do our job. Many of us (hand raised here again) subconsciously (?) don’t want this. We want to be needed. We want to be seen as the necessary part of the organization. We want to be looked up to (see responsibility #1). Truth is, though, respect isn’t lost when we properly prepare our people - it is gained.

Ok. Now you’re tired. You have one more responsibility. And that responsibility is to get some rest. Fatigue has a direct negative impact on decision making. And the more tired you are, the worse your decisions tend to be. So why do so many leaders resist getting the rest needed to lead effectively? Because they have failed to follow through on Responsibility #1 and #2. They know their people aren’t ready. They want to be needed. So, they fail to do what is necessary before hand.

Tired leaders are still needed. But they can best meet that need if they get rest. Getting the needed rest doesn’t make you a bad leader. It makes you a responsible one. You set a good example for those who are following you. You make better decisions. Hallmarks of a good leader.

Be the leader they need. Even when the leader is the tired one.