Leadership Sucks

On one of our weekly date nights, my wife offered up a rather poignant statement.  After a particularly rough day at the office, she said “Sometimes being a leader really sucks.”  For those in leadership positions, this surely isn’t a new concept.  If you are a sports executive, an event director, a non-profit manager, a parent, a teacher, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, yes, leadership has its challenges.

If we turn things around, what are the great benefits of being a leader?  Also, what leadership traits make the team or company better than its peers?  We offer you five concepts that make leadership worth it all…..

1.      Servitude – The best leaders put their mission and their team first.  Individual acclaim for these leaders comes later, if at all.  Their focus is always on the group’s goal and not their own gain.  This is one of the most fulfilling parts of leading.  When you do something alone, there are very few people to share it with.   When you achieve something collectively, you have a group of contributors to celebrate with side by side.

2.      Support – Great leaders will drop everything to help their followers.  In turn their teams will feel more enabled and supported, which will lead them to be more successful over time.  When people feel safe and that someone has their back, they become amazingly effective.

3.      Collaboration – Leadership comes with strings.  You need to deal with every task that comes your way, whether you have the resources or not.  Great leaders find a way to partner with others in order to attract the support they need.  Collaboration leads to winning teams.

4.      Delegation – Have you ever delegated a key project or task to someone on your team and watched them flourish?  It’s one of the great feelings of working with others, watching someone else accomplish something great.  If you haven’t experienced it, try it.  Great delegation can not only change your attitude about leadership, but you can learn a great deal about the human condition.

5.      Promote Others – Team success is about the greater good.  Individual accomplishment can still be part of the larger picture, but not if one person trumps the others.  When possible, promote the work of your followers and the collective team.  Propping up those that do the work behind the scenes not only builds them up, but strengthens the overall foundation of your organization.

These tactics are easy to implement in any organization.  However it takes the commitment of those at the top.  Make time to check your work.  Put these strategies in your daily schedule and make sure you review them consistently as a check point.  Small advances in these areas will yield huge gains over time.

Yes, sometimes leadership is challenging, but more often than not, the leadership cloud has a silver lining.  Serve your stakeholders, support your team, collaborate with your constituents, delegate to others, and promote your followers.  Exercise these five keys to success, and leadership won’t suck.