The 5 Perils of Leadership

If we go into management to earn more, have more power/prestige, and work less, we are either naïve or ignorant. (And let’s admit right now that those are precisely the reasons most of us go into management.)


1. Prepare to be Hated


Wise leaders accept that some decisions will be unpopular. If you can’t handle others’ disapproval, then leadership probably isn’t for you. Trying to be everyone’s friend is a futile and selfish effort. Most of us want to be liked; as we progress through school, we do things to get others to accept us (with varying levels of success). We try to wear the cool clothes, have a cool car, or take the cool classes. We then carry those bad habits into the workplace; we do things to attain the approval of others, allowing true accountability to wither. Some of us want so desperately to be accepted that we will sacrifice the good of the rest of the organization for our own selfish emotional gain. While it might help in the short-term, the pursuit of approval is a guarantee of long-term failure. Those who don’t throw their leadership opportunities away in pursuit of approval will be teased at best; at worst, they will be ridiculed, mocked, and defamed. So prepare to be hated, but remember that the haters are the ones who don’t matter. The ones who do matter will sincerely appreciate your leadership and implicitly trust your guidance, since you have proven your constancy and trustworthiness.


2. Conquer Your Fears


In life, but especially in leadership positions, we all face fears. We fear not being accepted, feelings of inadequacy, shame, rejection, discomfort, and the list goes on. My response (and I am speaking to myself more loudly than others) is, “We’re all afraid . . . so what!” We must choose to get over our fears and not allow them to hinder our growth and development as leaders. So what if we don’t have it all together. So what if we didn’t go to the right school; so what if we didn’t have a good mentor. We all have something to offer, and we must choose to focus on what we do have to offer, not what we don’t. And remember the dirty little secret is that those who are acting like they have it all together really don’t.


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One Fear illustration from Book of Fears

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears (Photo credit: Wikipedia)