“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is a danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” – Nelson Mandela
I listen to so many talks and read so many books on leadership. I came to a realization, leadership sucks! I have come to understand more each day what it means to take on the stewardship of being a leader, and it sucks! There is nothing glamorous about late phone calls, multiple texts, long responses to emails, multiple meetings, long days, cold coffee, loss of family time, cold lunches, or the high stress that comes along with being a leader! Being a leader is about having to push through the exhaustion, the fear of decision or the worry about your team when others would have given up. No matter what you are a leader of including a big company, small business, church, or a nonprofit organization, it is all the same! You are tasked with maintaining the vision and understanding the heading. More often than not, leadership is lonely. You can often feel like you are alone in a boat that is sinking without a patch, paddle, or land in sight. You feel like you are unable to keep up with the water rushing into your boat before it continues to downpour and flood. It’s at this time, when the stress gets so overwhelming, that there will be an instant of clarity. It is during this clarity that your decisions for your company will not just be good, but great. It will take you many hours to hone your craft. At times you will be told by others that this is the life you chose. As a leader, it will be hard sometimes, but other times it will be a greatly rewarding experience. When it comes to leadership, many have put their two cents in on it. John Quincy Adams said that “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
Let’s be real, you can be a leader and a follower of your team. It’s about what you aspire to be, and who you are trying to inspire to be more. It’s about the willingness to put in the time, and the willingness to follow the other leaders who have walked the same path. So Leaders, here’s to the long hours, cold lunches at our desk chased down by our cold coffee, and our inability to sleep through the night. Leadership sucks, but if it was meant to be easy, it wouldn’t be worth it to sit back and see all your struggles pay off.