In most situations, the higher you get in your organization, the more responsibility you have. The more responsibility you have, the heavier the burden.
That means unless you are the leader of your organization, the person to whom you report is probably shouldering more stress and burden than you are.
Conversations are being had above your pay grade, frustrations being handled beyond your scope, and stressful decisions being weighed (often between two good or two bad options) that you aren’t even aware exist.
And that’s okay. That’s the nature of leadership. Leading involves shouldering the burden so others can do more. Many times, leaders are stepping into situations that only they can step into, and dealing with things the rest of their team may never know.
So how do you help? Take the punch.
Taking the punch means when complaints, conflict, frustration, or tension come on the radar, you absorb the hit.
When someone is upset by a decision you know your boss made, take the punch. “Yes, I’m sorry, let’s figure out how to make that right.”
When there’s a problem you can handle or blame you can take in a way that keeps it off your boss’s radar, that’s a win for the team. Taking the punch means knowing that something is your boss’s “fault”, but being willing to take the blame for it anyway. Sometimes you fill your boss in on the situation, other times you let it slide.
In my experience, when I have taken the punch, my boss knows I took the punch so he wouldn’t have to. As a result, his trust in my leadership and commitment grows. When his trust in my leadership and commitment grows, his willingness to give me more responsibility grows, and as a result, my leadership capacity grows.
It can be exhausting.
It can be frustrating.
In all honesty, it’s not even always the right decision.
But if you find yourself in an organization you like and working for a boss you believe in, taking the punch every so often will go a long way in securing your longevity on the team.
So if you want to grow in your leadership, learn to take the punch.
Looking for other ways to grow as a leader? Check these out:
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Austin Walker is a husband, dad, pastor, and college football fanatic who leads a multisite student ministry team in Central Arkansas. He writes about leadership, productivity, team building, coaching, and theology.
If you want to find out more about Austin, listen to sermons, contact him about speaking, or inquire about coaching opportunities, visit www.austinjwalker.com
To see more about his life, follow him on instagram at www.instagram.com/austinjwalker