Leadership Tip of the Week: Heavy is the Crown

How do you fire someone? How do you tell your company that things aren’t going well and layoffs are probably coming soon? How do you let someone know their work or performance isn’t good enough?

“Heavy is the head that wears the crown.”

Any person who has been in a significant leadership position knows the meaning of that statement. A slightly modified version can be found all the way back in William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” and is often used to talk about the burden and difficulties of being a leader.

King Henry IV, an exhausted and worried leader in the aforementioned play, speaks these lines:

“Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose

To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,

And in the calmest and most stillest night,

With all appliances and means to boot,

Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

Being a leader automatically entitles you criticism and judgement. Empathy is expected from a leader but seldom given to one.

To summarize thus far, being a leader is hard.

It is so important to build a supporting cast. Leaders can’t do it alone. My supporting cast is on speed dial and I rely on them heavily. They can’t get me out of the difficulties in being a leader, but they provide the support that is needed to help me and the organization be successful.

The Army gets it. That is why every commander is assigned a senior enlisted advisor, a non-commissioned officer (NCO), who is someone that supports the commander and helps make them successful. A good commander is usually standing beside an even better NCO.

Leaders, this is the perfect time to build your supporting cast. Being a leader is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone and be like the weary king.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.



Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.