Many people I speak to, from little kids to professionals in their 50s, want to be “in charge.” They want what they perceive to be the perks of being in a position of authority.
What most don’t recognize is the BURDEN that comes with leadership.
When there’s an uncertain environment, it is the leader that absorbs the bulk of that uncertainty — creating a simplified, more structured environment for her team to operate within.
When a major decision needs to be made, and there is no obvious decision, it is the leader that bears the consequence of choosing incorrectly.
When a difficult decision needs to be made, choosing between a bad choice and a worse choice, it’s the leader that has to live with deliberately making a bad choice — solely to avoid an even worse choice.
For my clients, when things are going well, they can’t tell their employees — lest they all immediately ask for raises.
When things go poorly, they can’t tell their employees either — lest they all start looking for work elsewhere.
Sometimes, a leader must make a wildly unpopular decision. Even though the decision is sound, that’s not how everyone else sees it. To stand alone in the face of hurricane-level criticism and even ridicule is not easy to do.
When a leader makes mistakes, the results are often very public — for all to see firsthand.
This is the burden of leadership.
If despite all this, you still want to be in a leadership position, the solution is simple.
Assume the BURDEN before you are actually formally placed in a position.
When things go wrong in your company, you personally accept the burden and responsibility for correcting the situation — even if you were not the one who made the mistake.
When you’re the leader, the final responsibility lies with YOU.
This is both a blessing and a curse.
To understand leadership is to realize that you can’t have one without the other.
That is the burden of leadership.