Public Disclosure of Private Struggle

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Struggle begins with your first gasp for breath and ends with your last. Leaders struggle.

Wise leaders expose struggle wisely.

Leaders struggle with:

  1. Loneliness.
  2. Humility.
  3. Certainty.
  4. Image.
  5. Patience.
  6. Serving and self-interest.
  7. Authenticity and honesty.
  8. Purpose and meaning.
  9. Balance.
  10. Decisions.
  11. Priorities.
  12. Pushing performance or supporting progress.

(That was one of the easiest lists I ever wrote.)

Go further by learning the art of the struggle rather than ignoring it.

Hiding struggle intensifies struggle.

I talked with the author of, “Leadership and the Art of the Struggle,” about:

Public vs. private disclosure.

Always:

Snyder said, “Always consider the group’s reaction to publicly disclosing struggle.”

Publicly disclose what serves, nothing more. Keep self-serving, self-affirming disclosure private. Public disclosure must enhance:

  1. Individual relationships.
  2. Organizational objectives.
  3. Leadership effectiveness.
  4. Conflict resolution.
  5. Leadership development.

If this sounds inauthentic, too bad. Leadership positions aren’t for self-validation.

Outsider:

“Everyone needs someone they can be completely honest with.” Steven Snyder

Outside eyes guide public disclosure. Practice public disclosure privately.

Share your struggle with a mentor or coach and ask for their response. Their eyes expose anger or guilt, expand perspective, and anticipate reactions.

Progress:

Every disclosure of struggle must include illustrations of progress. Explain how you’re growing. Snyder said, “Don’t share struggles that are raw.” Share fresh struggle privately.

Growth:

Snyder said, “Sharing the struggle is the beginning of leadership growth.”

Leaders don’t grow until they disclose either privately or publicly.

Successful disclosure facilitates their growth, too. I often share my struggle where growth and development are the focus. Your struggle gives others permission and courage to grow.

Purchase: “Leadership and the Art of the Struggle: How Great Leaders Grow through Challenge and Adversity.”

Free chapter.

What does leadership struggle look like, from your point of view?

How can public disclosure go wrong or right?