greg bustin uneasy lies the head

Uneasy Lies the Head

April 15th, 2014  | 

Published in Leadership

In Shakespeare’s Henry IV, the title character finds himself worn out by his duties as king and jealous of his “poorest subjects [who] are at this hour asleep!”

Poor King Henry concludes, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

Leaders who enjoy power and prestige also own the worries that come with great responsibility.

Terminating employees is one of those responsibilities and it’s rarely easy – whether it’s someone whose under-performance is obvious, or a person with long ties to the organization.

As a leader, you must address under-performing employees regardless of their level and tenure in the organization, otherwise your reputation within the organization takes a hit.

Your failure to act is also disrespectful to your top performers.

You’re wearing the crown. You have the responsibility to do what must be done.

A CEO once reported to his peers in one of my Vistage groups that he had terminated an executive who also was a family friend after giving this person every chance to succeed.

Hearing this news, a fellow CEO remarked, “Congratulations on your business successes and condolences for the tough personnel decision. I am afraid it comes with the territory.”

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises leaders of some of the world’s most admired companies, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 200 strategic planning sessions, and he’s delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. His fifth leadership book—How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices—examines 52 of history’s greatest triumphs and tragedies and debuted in April as the #1 new historical reference book on Amazon.

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