Top leadership jobs are tough. While you come into a leadership position with lots of enthusiasm and support, both get worn away over time. So, what can you do?


  1. Think of your leadership role as coming with a pile of chips.

    The chips are goodwill and support you can use to pursue important initiatives and resolve tough issues. While successes can bolster your standing, each move you make will engender opposition or frustration from someone. Perhaps, you didn’t follow someone’s idea. Or, you chose someone else for a key role.  So, even while you may be winning, there’s an erosion of chips from your pile.


  1. Pay attention to the chips in your pile.

    Is your number of chips growing or declining? Many leaders comment that regardless of performance their chips dwindle. It’s the accumulation of people (board members, employees, and other stakeholders) to whom you’ve said “no.” Take stock of where you are. Ask others to give you a candid read on where you stand with critical constituencies. Do you have the chips you need to play big or are you running critically short?


  1. Replenish your chips.

    While some leaders think that the decline in chips is inevitable, you can turn around the situation. For example, you can create a new alliance with an outside organization, which boosts your business and your standing in the field. You can find other leaders with star power whose support for you and your initiatives will add chips to your pile.


When you think about your leadership and support for your success like a game, it stimulates creative thinking. It will help you think in fresh, fun, and strategic ways about how you can broaden, deepen, and strengthen your foundation of support. You will have more fun playing. Enjoy!