I have a personal passion for leadership, because I really enjoy leading people…really.  For many years now, I have had an appreciation for leaders, books on leadership and conferences on how to lead better.  I’ve even taught in some of those venues.  There is just something energizing to me about the subject.  And, with all of that interest and some experience along the way, I have learned that leadership is quiet difficult…all of the time. My definition for leadership is the ability to be one step ahead for the right reasons. This communicates the intrinsic responsibility of being ahead just enough to catch the future but close enough to connect with those who follow.  Maintaining that “one step ahead” requires constant attention. The idea that leading people has some grandeur attached to it is simply a myth.  It’s work to lead, hard work!

So, why is leadership hard work?  Here are some observations:

  • Respect must be earned, not expected.
  • The level of responsibility is always greater, but not necessarily grander.
  • Leaders must be ahead in planning, but present for relationships.
  • Expectations must always be clear and yet concise.
  • Stress must be managed while keeping those you lead motivated.

Naivety in this regard will create dangerous blind spots in your pursuit to effectively lead others.  It’s essential to remember that to a great degree our work is reflected in the people who follow us.  And, the reward of such hard work is the development of people.