Lean on Me
While you may or may not recognize the name Bill Withers, you can likely identify “Lean on Me”, his iconic ’70s song. Don’t stop reading—do a quick search later if you need to.
The song makes the point that nobody can do it alone. Perhaps this time, you can help me and maybe the next time, someone—maybe even me—can help you.
So why is it that the higher we rise as leaders or in positions of authority, the more we often feel isolated, unable to ask for counsel, emotional support, or (gulp) help?
For leaders, for anyone really, one of the most difficult things to say is “I need help.” Even harder than saying “I love you,” “I was wrong,” or “I failed.” Probably because it taps into our fear of being seen as weak or inadequate, of being refused (“no one wants to help”), or a limited perspective says, “I’m the only one with this problem.”
One common defense mechanism I heard in management consulting was that each clients’ situation was different. Unique even. While it is possible that a new challenge exists, it’s far more likely that it’s only new to the person or company experiencing it at this time. Somewhere, someone or some other entity already has faced this or something like it.
Just ask—look for those who have shared your experience or something similar. Ask for their help, their input. They’re likely eager to share it with you.
And while you’re searching for that mentor, may I suggest asking the Lord?
Recently, I struggled for a few weeks with being awake when I’d rather be asleep, so I asked my personal prayer team for intercession. One man, himself a business leader, asked if I had sought the Lord for an answer. Sheepishly, I admitted that I had not. That afternoon, God answered my question nearly immediately—something that happens infrequently for me.
I don’t know what Bill Withers’ faith position was, but I can say with complete confidence that Jesus invites you and me to lean on Him. Don’t do business, life, or anything alone.
–Tony Snyder, US Partner Relations
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