A Wounded Leader

By Paul Howarth

‘I haven’t got enough energy to get up and take another shot’  

Showing Vulnerability has been a common theme in recent years for leadership. Intuitively knowing when to express it or not is a line most of us struggle to find in times of stress, but simply ‘being strong’ when people know your struggling can create a picture of a false self. Which is enough to cause rising anxiety in any group. 

I write this from my heart. As it’s from here I lead. At times I withdraw and people experience my withdrawal in different ways from worrying about their loss of attachment to me, to filling in the gaps of my leadership. It is in between these lines of the spectrum that the thing we call ‘work’ takes place. 

What is a leader? I haven’t got the head space to answer that for you right now.

If I am a leader, then this leader is wounded, hurt, protecting himself, pushing to do the next right thing, feeling the loss of connection and feeling the shame and anger that goes with all of those feelings. 

If I hear the word ‘pivot’ one more time, I think I’ll crack. My eyes are tired, bleeding and soulless. My mouth is dry and I don’t think I’ve got the energy to get up and take another shot.

I don’t ask for help In these times, that is just my way. I pull back, but people need me. My children need me, my staff need me, but I need to feel a connection that my head is telling me I don’t deserve. 

Maybe its time to listen to my years of learning, maybe it’s time to get back to my foundations and maybe it’s time to trust my deeper intuition.

My daughter said to me the other day ‘Daddy where you going?’ My answer was ‘Work to earn pennies darling’ as I walked out the house I thought ‘what? Is that what it’s become?‘ I stopped, walked back in the house and said ‘actually love, I go to work and help people become better people and they then help me to become a better Dad’.

Isn’t it time we go back to searching for what the hell it is we are doing here? What are we actually fighting for? Knowing when to lay down our weapons and surrender has been a successful depth I have found in my character, but knowing when to fight and ‘dig in’ finds itself on a different side of the same coin. 

Someone told me ‘Leadership is a role’  and yes, I do agree but it’s not just a role, for me it is a way of life. We all have to draw on our experience and have the courage to accept that right now we haven’t got all the answers, but we have got the capacity to keep asking more questions. 

If your running a team, a family, or a business. If your a CEO, a MD, a team leader, a dad, a mum or you find yourself filling in the gaps of leadership in the groups and teams your part of, my heart is with you.

The pain we feel right now will one day become our past, and the wounds WILL turn into wisdom.