Your 10 Worst Days as a Leader?

Bad things happen to good people, including good leaders. Stuff happens – you deal with it, learn from it, and move on.

Reflecting back over my own career as a leader, there were some days I’d just assume forget and never have to repeat. Having worked in various HR and leadership development roles, I also had a chance to hear about some serious bad hair days from leaders on the front lines.

So here’s my 10 top list, with opportunity to add your own at the end. It’s a mix – some are seriously really bad, and some may just cause a leader to lose a good night’s sleep. They didn’t ALL happen to me, but then again, there’s always next week.

1. Firing someone. Actually, if you add each of the discussions leading up to the firing, this one could count as 10 days by itself.

2. Laying off LOT’S of employees all at once. Or even being around when other employees are getting laid off, and feeling partly responsible as a leader in the organization.

3. Dealing with the death, serious illness, or some other traumatic personal employee tragedy.

4. Being the target of an unwarranted harassment or discrimination claim.

5. Dealing with a workplace violence incident.

6. Getting demoted, fired, or disciplined.

7. Informing candidates that they didn’t get the job.

8. Getting a critical leadership assessment and learning about your blind spots for the first time.

9. Taking your team off-site for a teambuilding session, and being called out by the retreat leader as a source of the team’s problems. Then, having to thank everyone and pay the bill. And no, this DID NOT happen to me. Well, not recently, anyway.

10. Attending a really, really horrible leadership training program.

If the thought of having to deal with one of more of these kinds of things absolutely freaks you out, then perhaps a leadership role isn’t the right role for you. If you think you could handle doing one or more of these things on a daily basis, then look for a role in Human Resources. (-:

How about you – what’s one of your worst days as a leader? Despite the buzz-kill topic, feel free to have some fun with it in the comments or on Twitter.