If there’s one thing that’s true about history, it’s that history is only changed significantly when great leaders take action. Leadership is a positive quality looked up to in every culture on the planet. While everyone likes to think about the positive aspects of having leadership qualities, being a leader is not always something that comes easy. There can certainly be some difficulties for any accomplished leader. Here are four reasons why leadership can be hard but still worth the trouble.
Responsibility Is a Heavy Cross to Bear
As the often repeated Spider-Man quote goes, “with great power comes with great responsibility”. No matter what avenue of leadership you choose, whether it be in business, politics or even simply your family, being a leader requires a great amount of responsibility. You will have to make tough decisions. Sometimes you will make the right choice. As a leader, you will reap the benefits of success by being looked up to by your followers or the organization.
However, sometimes, you will make the wrong decision. This is only human nature. It’s natural to make some mistakes. However, as a leader, you will have little ability to shift the blame. Most leadership positions are the same in this sense. A CEO and a president will both be blamed when things don’t go right in the company or the country in question. It may be true that some of that may not be directly your fault, but you still take a good share of the blame regardless.
Being Respected Isn’t the Same as Being Liked
One thing you quickly learn in a significant leadership position is that being liked and being respected is not always the same thing. In fact, they are sometimes in direct opposition to each other. In the food service industry, for example, it’s common for the head chef to have a rather miserable disposition. However, if the kitchen operates efficiently and the reviews for the food are good, that chef can still amass a great reputation.
While you shouldn’t go out of your way to be mean, indifferent or cruel to those below you, you shouldn’t always place being liked ahead of being respected. Another example is the parent who tries too hard to be liked by their child. While being a “cool” parent may seem like something you want, it can also have very negative effects for the child who doesn’t learn the right lessons about responsibility. Still, you must also be liked on some level. According to Bloomberg, half of employees surveyed have quit a job over their boss.
Management Can Be Complicated
In many cases, being a leader means being a manager. This is not just the case in business but also other sectors of society like the military, government agencies, non-profit organizations and more. Managing those below you in the chain of command as well as the organization as a whole can be complex to say the least.
As a manager, one thing you will have to do is performance management. Assessing the performance of the organization and staff can be difficult. You may use software, for example, to make that task easier. Overall, you need to be methodical, consistent and fair with how you assess the performance of those you have responsibility for. According to Forbes, only 55 percent of employees felt that their performance management appraisal was actually effective.
It’s a Balancing Act
Lastly, leadership can be best described as a balancing act. It’s a balancing act in many different ways. You may have to balance the needs of the organization and your followers. You have to balance your role as a leader with your personal life. You may have to balance the needs of employees with the needs of customers. None of these are easy, but you are required to find some kind of balance between these competing needs to be a leader.
Being a leader can certainly be tough. It can be a significant burden. Not everyone is cut out for the task. Still, being a leader can be greatly rewarding. There’s no feeling of accomplishment quite like leading a team that reaches its goal.