7 Things I Can Guarantee about Leadership

I once had a leader who was an emphatic talker. He made statements with no reservation in them about things – honestly – I simply didn’t believe. He would say stuff such as, “There is no way this would ever work.” Really? No way? Maybe the chance is limited, but no way?

He impressed upon me enough I’ve always been hesitant about emphatic statements – unless they are Biblical truths, of course.

But I have some emphatic statements to make. I’m calling them guarantees. And since I talk a great deal about leadership on this blog – these are leadership guarantees.

Here are 7 guarantees about leadership:

Every decision you make will produce a multiple of responses.

Some will agree. Some will not. And some will not care either way.

Change is inevitable. You’ll have to lead through it. 

You can deny it. You can attempt to avoid it. You can be afraid of how people will react to it. But change is coming either way. It’s best to be on the side of change where you at least have some chance of helping the change be for the best overall good of the people you lead.

You will many times feel under appreciated as a leader. 

In my observation, the longer you do something well the less people notice your efforts. It becomes your “normal”.

But this one is especially true if you are looking for appreciation. Of course, we all want to be appreciated, but genuine leaders are not as concerned about what other people think as they are about doing the right thing. And, because of this, they aren’t necessarily seeking personal recognition or applause. These leaders are methodical in their pursuit of progress, but not usually aware of how much good they actually are doing.

You can never adequately predict how people will respond.

Even the people you felt were your best supporters will sometimes turn on you if the decision you make does not go in their favor or if you bother their level of comfort. (That’s human nature.)

And then there will be some people who will rise to your support you that you didn’t even know were in your corner.

You will seldom be 100% certain – and yet you’ll still have to decide.

There is always a level of risk with every decision you make. If you wait for perfect conditions you will seldom do anything. You should ask good questions, get plenty of input, and certainly pray for wisdom. Sometimes, however, you simply have to pull the trigger on your gut instinct and get started.

Some “days” it won’t seem you’ve accomplished anything.

Sometimes it’s because nothing seemed to move forward. You seemed to take two steps backwards for every one step forward. There was no progress made on the mission. The team wasn’t clicking like they should. Those are hard days.

And, then sometimes, looking back, these days will be your best days. It might be because you spent all day investing in others – while other “work” goes undone. But remember, if you are leading you are in a people business. People will always be your best efforts.

You will make mistakes – and that never changes.

You will make lots of mistakes along the way. We don’t “outgrow” that as a leader. If you are leading then you are taking people into unknown territories. You are exploring, taking risks and attempting to figure out “what’s next”.

The reality is you will usually learn from mistakes made even more than the things you do right. The best leaders I know do not hide the mistakes they make. They use them as life lessons and help others grow through them.

I guarantee these to be true. Emphatically.

Or, at least I’m 97.9% sure. 🙂

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Ron Edmondson

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  • […] 7 Things I Can Guarantee about Leadership by Ron Edmondson. As a result of his many years of leadership experience, Ron Edmonson offers seven things he can guarantee will occur in one’s tenure as a leader. Whether it be leading through change or making mistakes, these are all part of what it means to be a leader. Check it out. […]

  • E. Seeley says:

    No. 8: You can never satisfy all the people all of the time.

  • jimpemberton says:

    All the more reason to develop contingency plans. God doesn't need contingency plans because he doesn't have any of these problems. Since we aren't God, we need contingency plans. Plan for change. Plan for anything you do to fail. Build enough flexibility into your system so that it doesn't fail altogether when someone or something bucks it. Because of the political situation, I was about ready to hang up our plans to go to Venezuela, especially when we got our passports back and our visas had been denied. But we had a remote contingency that someone could still go if last year's visas were still valid. We got the passports back with a week left on the old visas and were on a plane virtually overnight. So develop contingencies for these things.

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