Leadership Answer Man | Leadership and Management Advice
61: Do Leaders Need Thick Skin?
Jun 19, 2015
How do you survive the rough and tumble of change warfare? Is it by developing a thick skin? DO YOU REALLY NEED A THICK SKIN?
No. In fact, developing a coarse emotional hide is the worst thing you could possibly do. Making yourself impervious to pain means shutting yourself off from most of the nuances and intricacies of life — and business. I’ve seen leaders become thick-hided and insulated before, and it only led to their demise. Before long, they became so well-insulated that they could not hear the whispers of common sense, interpersonal resentments, or even approaching trouble. For a leader whose greatest responsibility is to sense how the proverbial wind is blowing, that is the kiss of death.
Rather than a thick hide, the thing to develop is a resilient one. One that can absorb the blow, not deflect it. Instead of trying to develop ways of never feeling the attack, work on ways of processing it more painlessly and efficiently.