When I was younger, I had the opportunity to lead a large group of my peers.
I had been looking forward to the chance and did everything I could to take full advantage of it when I got it.
We were mobilizing a large group of about seventy people and I had to organize sub-groups that would each handle their own tasks while working together towards a common goal.
I worked as hard as anyone, did what I felt was right, and everything seemed to be going great.
And then they weren’t… and then it was my fault… because I was the leader.
It wasn’t until later that I realized what had happened. Being a leader means taking responsibility, even if it’s not your fault. In order for you to succeed as a leader, you don’t need to succeed – your team does.
When you’re in a leadership role, you can never please all of the people all of the time. There’s also a lot of responsibility that goes along with it that others may not realize.
– Joyce Meyer
Just as conflict often requires sacrifice to succeed, a leader needs to be willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the success of their team. By that, I mean they need to shoulder the blame and take whatever heat comes at them.
Sometimes things go perfectly; sometimes they don’t. But whatever happens, you as leader sign up to take that responsibility beforehand – and can’t change your mind after the fact.
Leadership is exhilarating, and leading other people is as fulfilling as anything else in life, but it’s important that before you jump into a leadership role that you’re fully aware of this important fact.
Why this is important (and how understanding it makes you a better leader)
I don’t say all of this to discourage you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
If you want to be a great leader, it’s important to know this ahead of time. Not to discourage you, but rather so that you understand what it’s truly like to be placed into a leadership role ahead of time so that you’re better prepared.
When we’re fully prepared ahead of time for something, we perform better. It’s a pretty simple idea that holds true for most things. And in this, it’s no different. By understanding what it truly means to be a leader, a good leader, ahead of time you can prepare yourself in the right way. You know what’s to come and can place yourself in the right state of mind.
When it comes to the military, the move from being a new soldier to taking command is much more natural when compared to other professions once you’ve learned the ropes. This is because the entire philosophy taught is about the team above the individual, the mission above the team.
Your own situation might not be nearly as serious, but no matter what, this principle holds true when it comes to being a leader in anything: it’s your team, and the objective, above your ego.
Go forth and lead (the world needs you)
I have great respect for anyone who wields their leadership role skillfully, both respecting the people they lead and treating them as equals, as well as doing what it takes to properly lead those who follow them.
Being a leader is tough, but if you’re ready and willing to shoulder the responsibility, it’s also very rewarding. Not just by being around like-minded individuals whom you can connect with but also because you help make a real difference in other people’s lives, filling you with a sense of meaning and fulfillment.
If you believe you were meant to lead, go forth and do so. The world needs great leaders more than ever before. Understand what it means to truly lead and you’ll be prepared to do something special in the world that fills you with a sense of purpose like few things can.