In leadership, as in all things, there are tough realities we all have to face.
We can wish it were otherwise, and we can work to make it otherwise to the extent we are able, but whatever the situation, you’re never well served by ignoring what exists now.
There are times when leadership feels like a problem to be solved and other times when it feels like a reality to be experienced.
Here are some sobering realities you’re likely to face at some point in your leadership:
You don’t always get the credit you deserve (or think you deserve).
If you think leadership is about gaining recognition and glory for what you accomplish, think again. It’s far more often about giving credit to others and acknowledging their contributions. You may feel you deserve more, but that’s not how it works—and the faster you can face that reality, the less disappointed you will feel. It’s the leader who can lead just as passionately toward a noble cause or a compelling vision while getting little credit (but more than their share of criticism) who’s on track for success.
Leadership can be really lonely.
To be a leader comes with great responsibility. Many people look up to you to always know the answers and provide direction. But who can you turn to when you need inspiration or motivation? The reality is that leadership is often a lonely and isolated experience. The antidote is to create for yourself a inner core group that supports you and is there for you.
The pressure is continuous, and it’s exhausting.
A leader has to be on top of their game 24/7. You can hardly let your guard down, because people are counting on you and there is always a lot to get done. Sometimes the sheer pressure of leadership can be utterly exhausting. If you don’t want to burn out, learn to find a balance between your leadership and your private life— and be sure to make the things that are important to you a priority.
Your mindset affects not only you but also those around you.
Keeping a positive outlook is not an option but a necessity. As a leader, you must keep a mindset that’s optimistic and positive, because people are relying on you. If your attitude is off, it will affect everyone around you. Do everything you can to maintain a positive outlook, because negativity causes unnecessary disruption and turmoil among those you lead.
Authenticity is strength.
If you’re reluctant to embrace authenticity, you may have subscribed to the idea that it’s a point of vulnerability and therefore not a smart move. It’s certainly true that your authenticity will make you vulnerable, but here’s the surprising truth: that vulnerability can be the best thing you have going for your leadership. It helps you stand out of the crowd and shine as who you really are—not who others want you to be. Even in an environment where authenticity isn’t valued, the best leaders know that being real is a strength.
Sobering realities are a part of everyone’s learning, in leadership as in any other field. And at some point in the tenure of your leadership, you realize that it’s not the hard realities but what you do about them that truly matters.
Lead from within: Never try to escape your realities. Take them on and make them everything you want them to be. Because a bad leader can destroy good people.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.
05. Feb, 2017
Leadership is a tough road but the payoff of doing it well makes it (mostly) worth it when you see your people grow. My favorite book on this topic is Leadership on the Line.
20. Feb, 2017
Thanks Dana for your comment and for sharing with us your favorite book.
21. Feb, 2017
This was just what I needed to read at the right time !!! Thank you for sharing this!! I can’t wait to take it back and use it at work !!
16. Mar, 2017
Let me know if it works.
02. Mar, 2017
Great post Lolly. I seem to tag so many of your articles under #SLDUNKTANK on Twitter. We hope you can visit us there in order to see how business leadership is extrapolated to school leadership. Same tenets, same struggles, etc. Thanks again!
28. Jun, 2017
Very contemporary approach to the writing by Maxwelll “360′ Leadership ”
Lolly, I can see why you are sought after for leadership recognition and implementation.
This post is very important to a company and individual sustainability in the 21st century of businesses. 1970s , 1980s and even some of1990s style of management is not the catalyst for 21st century business. Great post. Thank you.