I can make some guarantees about leadership. And I don’t make many.
I once had a leader who was an emphatic talker. Statements were made 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.
7 guarantees about leadership:
Every decision you make to change something will produce multiple responses.
Some will agree. Others will not. And some will not care either way.
Yet, the fact is change is inevitable. You can deny it, attempt to avoid it or 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”.
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. Often these leaders are methodical in their pursuit of progress, and not always 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.
There will be lots of mistakes made 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. Great leaders do not hide the mistakes they make. They use them as life lessons and help others grow through them.
Where there are people there will be drama.
Some days it will feel like you’re living in a soap opera drama. True story. Even the best people will miscommunicate. People will misunderstand intentions. When they don’t know they’ll come to their own – often wrong – conclusions. There will be resentments and competition and jealousy and hurt feelings.
And that’s all among the best of friends and healthiest of teams. Some days you’ll simply have to love and lead people through the drama.
I guarantee these to be true. Emphatically. Or, at least I’m 97.9% sure. 🙂