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 first hand.
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.