How Many Hats Do You Wear?

MarvaeLeadership8 Comments

Picture of a woman wearing many hats stacked on top of each other

When was the last time you slowed down long enough to count your hats – the various leadership roles you are responsible for? Hats seem to appear out of nowhere. Suddenly your head is heavy, your balance is questionable, and your stress level is off the charts.

As a leader, you tend to be in charge wherever you go, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It is how God wired you. The problem is that often you accumulate hats until the stack of hats on your head grows tall. You wear the stack of hats proudly, like a mature set of antlers, except you are far from being a buck!  It would be good for you to pause and consider which of the hats you are wearing are still in style. What fit you several years back may no longer be in vogue.

There is one hat I believe we are all supposed to wear: the relationship hat. It is a big hat encompassing our relationship with God, family, friends, and coworkers. You might not view this hat as a leadership role, but it is a significant part of how you choose to lead your own life. Neglecting these connections will cause the other areas you lead in to languish. Having such a large hat for the base of your stack of hats also makes a stable foundation for all the other hats.

Often the areas you lead in require multiple hats. Parenting is a perfect example. As a parent, you wear a wide assortment of hats:  chef, cleaning lady, landscaper, nurse, coach, chauffeur, and so many more. The same might be true if you are a business owner. The potential hats you wear might include bookkeeper, HR person, advertising executive, visionary, and executer. If you are in ministry, your stack of hats might include networker, visionary, coach, communication expert, and recruiter extraordinaire. Frequently leaders must operate in all three of these roles simultaneously. I know I have!

Does it matter how many hats we wear? It does if we want to be effective and fruitful in the places we lead. Less is more! Wearing fewer hats allows you to focus your energy for greater impact.

Which hats are out of style and need to go? Are there hats you should be wearing, but you aren’t? As a leader, your capacity is limited. How clear are you on your limits?

Here are some telltale signs that your stack of hats might need some adjusting:
  • You feel like you are perpetually running in circles and things are falling through the cracks.
  • Peace is not a regular part of your life.
  • You feel like you are failing more than you are succeeding.
  • People are complaining that you never have time for them.
  • Your relationship with God is shallow or non-existent.
  • You never have time to do what rejuvenates you and allows your creative juices to flow.
  • Frustration is on your most-used word list.
  • You are tired, unmotivated, and dissatisfied with your life.

I invite you to remove your stack of hats and evaluate them one by one. Allow God to show you the hats He wants you to wear, the hats that will be most becoming on you in this season.

Coaching is a great way to determine which hats flatter you most and to discover strategies to help you wear your leadership hats with style.

I’d love to hear about your stack of hats. Take a minute and share your experience.

8 Comments on “How Many Hats Do You Wear?”

  1. I have discovered my need for reevaluation as you suggest here. I remember the first time the concept of “seasons of life” hit home to me. I had always been heavily involved in music ministry and it didn’t occur to me until our first child came along that I would ever take a breather from it. But I knew God would have me remove that hat the moment the first one was born. While my children were young,I switched to teaching Sunday school and working in AWANAs, etc, and I barely touched the piano during those years. I remember how guilty I felt when our church did without a pianist until someone else stepped up to the plate. But from this vantage point, I realize that life is full of such seasons –and hats that were good and right for one season may need to be discarded when the next season comes along. And I shouldn’t hold on tightly to any hat, no matter how beautiful it is! 🙂

    1. Yes, sometimes even the beautiful hats must go! What do you think gave you the courage to keep from putting on the pianist hat in spite of your guilt?

        1. So often people struggle to have the conviction to honor their values rather than giving into the guilt. So glad that was not true for you! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. Marvae, how right you are. In the world of companies needing more from employees sometimes it’s so hard not to wear 5 or more hats. I’d love to learn how to remove each hat for work and try to figure out how I can become a better boss. I need work too at home with removing the hats. I know God has blessed me with a compassionate spirit that wants to help others. I’ve learned how to try not to run to everyone’s rescue (because sometimes I think He needs for us to go through things) and to try to help when asked. I strive to do my best for the Lord and some days I look at what was accomplished and wonder ….is this what you really wanted out of me today? Our lives seem to demand that we run at a fast pace. I embrace Jeff Goins Slow Down Challenge wholeheartedly….but need to find ways to incorporate this into my life.
    Thank you for the opportunity to explore and share.
    Blessings to you! Keep up the good work!

    1. Mary Lu – It is unfortunate that there is such a push for more. If less was done more would ultimately be accomplished!

      It is tricky to know where to draw the line when additional responsibilities are put on you. Often in the midst of it, pausing to access the situation is not our first inclination. It is hard, at times, to know what is your responsibility and what really should belong to someone else.

      So glad you have embraced Jeff Goin’s Slow Down Challenge… wholeheartedly. Now that you have finished the challenge, what would be the next best step to keep yourself moving at a slower pace? What drives the accelerated pace – you or others?

      Thanks so much for sharing!

      1. I think I may need to continue the challenge a couple times a month.
        For me my job is one that demands a lot of of me. I’m trying to wrap my head around a change in that area. Even when things aren’t ideal I want to be in God’s will and serve him. Keep praying and making connections!

        1. Making changes takes time! What do you think about focusing on Day 1 for a week and IF you have mastered it moving on to Day 2 for the next week? How would giving yourself more time to integrate the ideas into your life impact things? I am delighted by your desire to be in God’s will and serve Him. With that in mind, if you were able to pursue anything… what do you think you would want to do?

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