The following guest post is from fellow Heretic, my dear friend and mentor Ryan Merkley
There’s no nice way to say this: sometimes people will fail to meet your standards. I’m talking about your colleagues, collaborators, funders, board, employees, loved ones, hairdresser, creative services firm, or barista. You’ve got high standards. You expect the best. They don’t (always). Here’s how to deal with it:
- Welcome to your reality
You’re wicked smart with high standards and near boundless creativity and ambition. No matter where you go, you’re going to be disappointed by people around you. That’s why I fiercely protect, and always make time for, the people in my reality who challenge and inspire me.
- Find the good in everyone
While few people in your world will ever live up to the standards you set for yourself, many have exceptional qualities that you don’t possess. You can engage them in ways that activate their gifts and get a lot of great work done. But recognizing it, and being deliberate in your approach to it, allows you to avoid being frustrated when they aren’t able to come with you on all aspects of the journey, and are instead only a contributor to a larger product.
- Change the players in the game
Surround yourself with better people, and make the people around you better. Teach them. Mentor them. Find others to grow their skills. And seek out new talent: Poach them. Hire them. Put them on your board. But recognize that it’s a long game, because the coach always has to play at least one season with the team he inherited, and it might take years to trade away all the weak players for great ones.
- Make your own fun
Leadership is lonely. You are the only one who holds the vision, and the only one with the mandate to realize it. You have to let that drive you and find the joy that comes from achieving it.
We all want to be generals surrounded by Navy SEALs — elite, driven, brutally efficient specialists that will accomplish the mission in any circumstance. The reality is we’re more like pirate captains, sailing a leaky ship with ragged sails, surrounded by a ragtag group of rum-soaked ne’er-do-wells that nonetheless can be made to win if you help them (and if not, throw the worst of them overboard).
Smartly, lets ye walk the plank. (Pirate for “always run, never walk”)