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What makes employees think the leader's job is so easy?

Many times in leadership courses, middle managers or front line employees will tell me they think the job of being an Executive is exceptionally cushy, even easy. Here are 3 possible reasons for that label that I think may actually prove otherwise.

Executives Typically Work 24/7

They’re salaried, as opposed to hourly, so they don’t have to clock in or out or keep track of how much time they are spending away from their family or their life. They don’t ever have to turn their work mode on or turn it off. It just stays in the “on” position all the time. In fact, they’re given a multitude of electronic leashes, Blackberries, and buzzing devices to make sure that they never lose touch of the needs of those they report to or those they lead.

Executives Get to Tell Others What to Do

They get to tell people to do things for reasons like “because I said so” and those people just automatically listen. They get to give out orders and then deal only with the damage control that knocks on their door or calls them after five or emails the human resource department. They don’t have to compromise or modify their behavior or hold back their own stress induced emotions. They can just let it all hang out and tell whomever they wish at the water cooler that they’re having a rough day or wish they hadn’t fussed at someone or wish an employee would contribute more. They have multiple sounding boards to talk with in the office and can relax and honestly answer “How are you?” whenever they see a team member.

Executives Are Responsible for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Being in charge also means being responsible and Executives get to the responsible for all of it. They are the ones called upon when the company is failing or when a major mistake is made, even if they were not the ones who performed the work. They are responsible for your projects and theirs. All complaints about work employees have done are then passed upward and they get to hear about it, if the problem is bad enough, from their boss. But when things go well, they get to stay employed as no one at the Executive level high fives or celebrates when they actually meet quota.

Sarcasm. It’s all sarcasm. Yet, it’s a reasonably accurate picture of many a Corporate environment for Executives. Doesn’t that sound easy? An Executive’s job is not easy, but neither is the job of an employee working on the front line. The challenge at times is that neither appreciates the unique struggles, difficulties, value, and responsibilities of the other. It takes team members and executives alike to make a company happen and grown. Have you appreciated those you lead and your leaders lately?

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