Leadership’s Path of Pain

It’s likely you have personally experienced, or heard of others who have experienced, a leader who scoots an awkward situation under the proverbial rug instead of meeting it head on. If you’re like me, you see that behavior as frustrating and maybe even cowardly.

I concur with Patrick Lencioni when he says, “Leaders must be willing to do what’s uncomfortable. If the leader won’t do it, nobody will.”


The reality is that avoiding or ignoring does not make a problem go away; it simply gives permission for the problem to explode into a monstrous, audacious situation that will require a whole lot more time, energy, and resources than when it initially presented itself.





I have heard this called the “Path of Pain.” The Path of Pain exists for one and all - the good news is you can choose to make it long or short.


Don’t kid yourself into saying you don’t want to address something because it will hurt someone or cause them pain. The reality is that you want to avoid the personal pain and suffering of an awkward situation and here’s the worst part: everyone knows it.


Here’s a formula to consider: The longer you allow the Path of Pain to continue, the greater possibility you will lose your best people.


Don’t make life harder than it needs to be. Have those difficult conversations. Take on the opportunities to grow head first. You have the opportunity to keep your Path of Pain short - take it.

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