strength  When referring to leadership, there is an inherent expectation of strength.  In regards to teams, the leader of the team is the one to provide the guidance and the power when necessary.  What about those times when it is not formal leadership?  For example, a friend calls who is in crisis and needs help.  You are a friend, peer, and equal with this person; although at that moment, you are subconsciously lifted into a position of leadership.  How do you handle that type of situation?   This recently happened with me, so I am writing from a personal perspective.  A friend needed help, and I was the one she asked for support.  I didn’t think about it at that moment, but looking back, I am so honored and humbled that she would think of me in that time of crisis.  Her comment was I would provide strength.  My only comment was that I wouldn’t let her down.  This scenario led me to think about sharing on the topic of strength.

Not only in our organizations and our business teams do we look for and need leadership. We need it in our personal lives as well.  When we have the honor of being able to help and support others, we are de facto leaders in their lives, which is not a responsibility to take lightly, although it is different than being a team leader.  Leadership in this context has to be much more influential and subtle.  The truth is, people can and will do what they choose to do.  This is a big point – while I am going to be the solid, dependable, constant friend, I cannot take on her burden for her; unfortunately, it is hers to handle.  I think we try to assume too much during some of these situations, which can lead to disaster for all parties.  We, as leaders in others’ lives, especially during crisis times, can only provide advice and support to help our friends walk down their own path in life.  In my opinion, part of being in a friendship is our willingness to be there as that support and provide that strength for others when they cannot do it themselves.

Lori Buresh

CEO, The Professional Development Team


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  1. #1 by diana brown on April 15, 2013 - 3:55 pm

    Thank you Lori, Once again you have provided a most thoughtful post. No doubt you are a much valued friend. There is a famous John F. Kennedy quote along these lines and I thought you would appreciate the wisdom in support of your post. It is as follows: “When written in chinese, the word crisis is composed of two charecters. The first represents danger, the second represents opportunity.” I find it to be true be it personally or professionally.

  2. #2 by Randy on April 16, 2013 - 11:54 am

    Thank you Lori for sharing. There are two statements worth further consideration:

    “My only comment was that I wouldn’t let her down”. Why is it that you would not let her down?

    “Unfortunately it is hers to handle”. Consider changing “unfortunately” to “fortunately”. Here is
    an opportunity for your friend to grow and learn from adversity. Why deprive her of a valuable life lesson?


    • #3 by diana brown on April 16, 2013 - 3:10 pm

      Randy, pardon my direct response to you as I recognize it is an address to Lori but I think I have additional consideration for us all as it is clear the object is to be of help when called upon be it a professional or personal nature.

      As in the case of personal, there are often times when a friend calls for help and the help comes in the form of silence and simply standing by the friend rather than any particular action. In this way the life lesson is very much that of the person in need, except, they also have the love of a friend standing next to them, in support of whatever the choice becomes.

      My idea is Lori stating she did not want to let her friend down pertained more to a need to relay to the reader the importance of that relationship, as clearly she treasured it. This is my observation, she may have a different explanation.

      In my view, all we can really do for someone in need is evaluate the best course of action, take it with dedication and commitment even if it is in silent support no matter who makes the ultimate decision or what it comes in at. At the core of this is then trust and the trust between real friends is indeed mighty.

    • #4 by The Professional Development Team on April 16, 2013 - 4:31 pm

      Diana – you are mostly right but Randy has brought up a different point of view.

      To answer Randy’s questions:
      1. I stated I wouldn’t want to let her down partly due to Diana’s thought – that I wanted to convey that her friendship means a lot to me. Also I wanted to let her know that she could count on my strength, in whatever form it may take. Sometimes it has been a silent presence, just holding her hand and other times it is throwing a mirror up to her face (metaphorically speaking), showing her the harsh reality of life. I would not abandon her in her time of need.

      2. I totally understand your point Randy about this being a life lesson and an opportunity for her to grow. In fact, we have now reached the ‘tough love’ phase where I am kicking her butt to get in gear and start living again instead of just surviving. She needs this in order to be strong and truly live again. I can see her pain and suffering today though and that is tough to watch. I’ve gone through what I termed ‘a living nightmare’, and I would have gladly avoided the experience at the time even if it meant losing out on the life lessons learned. Using the term unfortunately just means she has to do it, and I can’t lie to her and tell her it will be easy. Sometimes life is just hard and that is the unfortunate part. There will come a time, probably a few years from now, where she will look back and know she grew and became a stronger person because of her crisis, but that day is not today.

      Thank you everyone who has responded and commented. I think dialogue like this is very valuable for us all to learn and grow ourselves.

      • #5 by diana brown on April 16, 2013 - 5:11 pm

        My pleasure Lori. You are a friend indeed. I suspect so is Randy.

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