I been discouraged about leadership lately. Every time I think about it; I think of the word – hard. Leadership for me has been hard: hard work, hard on my health and relationships, hard on my emotions.
Leadership is hard when I start…
The inevitable learning curve – so many unknowns, so much new: people, partner inter-relationships, systems, policies, standards, expectations, schedules. Insecurity. Comparison. Uncertainty. So many questions: Can I do this? Will others respect me? Can we accomplish the mission? Where to start? What are the first steps? Where can we find some quick wins?
Leadership is hard in the process…
Constant crisis. Problems. Challenges. Never enough leaders, resources, or funding. Bad attitudes, resistance to change, gossip and back-biting, team conflict, long hours, extra meetings. I struggle with setting boundaries, discerning my – and others’ – responsibility, balancing my heart and my head in decisions.
Leadership is hard when it’s over…
It is hard to watch others take over – with new ideas, other ways of doing things, different values. It is hard to watch prior co-workers struggle with the change, feel less valued in the new systems, lose their positions and their jobs. I have no authority or influence, but I still have concern and care. I observe from a distance – powerless, frustrated, trying to trust and believe the best, knowing I need to move on.
Days like today, I don’t want anything to do with leadership.
… and then I remember… leadership was also hard for the Greatest Leader of all time.
He had difficult, humble beginnings. He didn’t have my confidence issues, but He did have to prioritize His work. He experienced all kinds of conflict in the culture, society, and with His co-laborers. He dealt with others’ immaturity, character issues, and lack of integrity. He got tired; His leadership finally got Him killed. And then He had to leave the job to others who didn’t appear ready. They didn’t continue to do things like He did.
… but that was all part of the plan.
Yes, leadership is hard. The trick is to expect the hard parts, rather than trying to escape what is difficult. The key is to face into the challenges and grow up to handle them. Hard isn’t necessarily bad.
And remember, when we lead, we are in good company.
What do you do when leadership is hard?