What's In Your Leadership Tank?

Don't Run On Fumes

If you have been following the Passavant Leadership Group Blog, you’ve read that Leadership is Influence. You’ve learned that Great Leaders are constantly learning, and have to be bold. Sometimes you have to stand up against adversity, and other times you have to be patient while people align with new vision. Leaders must have followers and great leaders develop more leaders within their followers.

The general concept of a leader implies movement in a specific direction. If a leader is not moving, they are just standing in a crowd of people. Leaders have to move forward, but they can easily run out of gas and burn out if they are not prepared. Just like a car or airplane needs fuel to keep going, leaders cannot lead very far if they are running on fumes. You’ve got to keep your tank full in order to lead well for any extended amount of time.

Gas Guzzlers

Some situations can drain you faster than others. It could be a result of personal decisions or something completely out of your control. Sometimes it a specific person that puts a drain on you whenever they are around. Here are some things to watch for to avoid burning out while headed nowhere:

  • Ever-needy people.

    • It’s good to help people who are in need. Helping people learn to solve problems is the best way to help them long-term.
    • There are people who will always come back looking for you to solve their problems and cure what ails them.
    • It may sound harsh, but sometimes you just have to tell these people that you cannot help them.
  • I can do ALL things attitude.
    • Chances are that you did not arrive in a leadership role without some hard work along the way.
    • You have a lot of skills that have gotten you to where you are. If you continue to do all of the things you know how to do, you won’t have the capacity to lead anyone to new places.
  • Busyness.
    • Busy work usually does not accomplish much.
    • Also known as “workaholism,” busyness can keep you going for a short time, but will eventually wear you down until you completely burn out.
  • Fear.
    • Your imagination can be a strong force. Fear is an outcome of your imagination.
    • Fear can cripple your drive like cutting the fuel line of a car. You might have plenty of fuel in the tank, but you won’t get anywhere if fear is dictating your decisions.

Fuel For Leaders

You may be running out of gas as you read this. Maybe you have already burned out. You don’t have to give up. Here are some ideas to help you refresh and refill your tank:

  • Take a break and rest.
    • Even the greatest leaders take time to rest. No one can go full throttle forever.
    • If you haven’t taken a vacation for a long time, now might be the right time to do so.
  • Take time to celebrate.
    • When you’ve reached a goal with your team, celebrate with them.
    • Celebration can charge your batteries and revitalize your excitement for your vision.
    • Your team will appreciate your recognition and want to follow you even more as you celebrate their accomplishments.
  • Share responsibilities.
    • One of the things I see most often is a leader who wants to hold on to every detail. There is no faster way to run out of gas than to do everything yourself.
    • Delegation should not be about getting rid of tasks that you do not want to do. Delegation is about training up leaders to share your load.
    • Sharing responsibilities gives you the time you need to find rest.
    • Giving away some of the things you enjoy doing can open up new opportunities to expand your vision even further.
  • Learn something new.
    • Great Leaders are Voracious Learners.
    • Learning new things makes you a better leader, but also propels you forward.
    • When a leader reaches a goal, they should be making new ones. If you run out of goals, you can stall out. That’s just as bad as burning out because no one wants to follow a leader with stagnant vision.
  • Say “no” sometimes.
    • Just because you have the ability to do something does not mean you should do it.
    • You’ll never have the time to rest, celebrate, or learn new things if you are always saying yes to every request.
    • What may seem like a good idea at the time can throw you off balance and drag you down in other areas of your life.

I’d love to hear about how you keep your leadership tank full. Share your gas guzzler moments or methods for refueling in the comment section below.

One thought on “What's In Your Leadership Tank?

  1. Jay Passavant


    Loved this post! The challenge is in the ‘doing’ what you suggested, but at least you ‘turned on the runway lights’!


Leave a Reply