Exploring what it means to be a leader–the good and the bad.
by Stanley Lee
“Leadership is about creating a way for people to contribute for something extraordinary to happen” – Alan Keith
When the term “leadership” is mentioned in common conversations, it is usually associated with having authority and job promotions. In other words, it is shone on with mainly positive light. Similar to everything else in life, there are pros and cons even with leadership. The pros of being in a leadership position may include perceived increase of remuneration, being in charge and ensuring progress of projects moving forward. This is what most people would agree upon. The purpose of my post is to discuss or at least expose the nasty truth that most people would not even bear to think about leadership.
With more perks coming your way in a leadership position, more responsibilities also attract to you like you are their matching magnet. You are responsible for empowering and motivating your subordinates to complete the task assignments for satisfying the organization’s bottom line. Therefore, you are expected by your bosses and customers to lead the team to get the job done, regardless of the method you use. When accomplishments are being met as expected, nobody will praise you. It’s up to the leaders to praise the team and themselves for a job well done. This is very different than the praise that you receive as a child from your parents or as a student from the number of “A”s on your report card.
Dealing with negative situations is even more interesting for a leader. When things go wrong, leaders are the first people to get blamed for team failures. The adversity faced by other people is not pleasant to deal with, as it’s impossible to please everyone. This is especially true if you climb up higher up the ladder. It’s up to you as a leader to find new ways to improve the team when things are not going as well as expected. Dealing with these situations requires a specific character, not just anyone who can put their head down, concentrate on their tasks and hope for the best.
One of the key reasons behind bringing in any kind of “manager” in the first place is to bring in someone with experience in both the industry itself and the soft skills needed to manage others who do that job. This means both, not “either/or.” If a project is failing and the manager’s industry experience isn’t sufficient enough that they can pull late hours and get the job done and save the day (and then have a nice sit-down with their team afterward), or their soft skills are lacking and they cannot motivate their team to do the same, then they simply aren’t doing what they’ve been hired to do.
What are your real understandings of leadership? Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] or in the comment box below.