Why does leadership suck?
It sucks because real leadership is hard and requires selfless service. It sucks because the buck stops here, meaning it is ultimately the leader’s responsibility to deal with all of the crap. It requires less effort to “lead” in the harsh, dictatorial, selfish way that is so prevalent today instead of balancing our hard and soft nature. The alternative is servant leadership or Level 5 leadership. This kind of leadership is uncomfortable, humbling, self-denying, painful, and counter-intuitive; nonetheless, it is the only kind of leadership that brings lasting results, genuine happiness, and true self-fulfillment.
So, why should you read my book “Why Leadership Sucks”?
1. To help you understand why you are frustrated.
2. To challenge what you have learned about leadership.
3. To give you practical action steps to practice on your leadership journey.
I invite you to join me on our leadership journey together.
Targeted Age Group: 20-40
Genre: Business Leadership, Self-help, Career Advice
The Book Excerpt:
Prepare to Face Hatred, Discomfort, Vulnerability, Fear, Betrayal, and Peril
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.)
Wise leaders accept that some decisions will be
unpopular. If you can’t handle others’ disapproval, then
leadership 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.
Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if
we want to experience connection.
B R E N É B R O W N
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.
One thing that fuels fears about the future is past
betrayals, and betrayal is one of the ultimate tests of
leadership. Are we willing to walk in forgiveness with
those who betray or seem to have betrayed us? Are we
going to wall ourselves off from future close relationships
with others, or are we going to allow intimate
relationships with others that ultimately might mean
another betrayal? I do recommend that we are wise in this,
not allowing obviously dysfunctional people close to us,
but we can’t use that as an excuse to not be vulnerable. I
admit that forgiving betrayal is difficult for me, but I must
choose to let those circumstances go, since unforgiveness
only hurts me, not the other person. I would rather choose
to remain vulnerable and be taken advantage of than be so
skeptical of others that I have no intimate friendships.
Leaders also get to be uncomfortable; it’s part of the
job description. At one point, I resigned from a position
with a company and had the choice to leave without
talking to anyone or come back the next day and give
my leaders some closure. As painful and emotional as
I knew it would be, I chose the latter and am glad I
did. As leaders, we don’t have the luxury of shirking
painful responsibilities even though we would like to.
Leadership is not necessarily safe but can be perilous to
our career; it involves much more risk than just being
a team member. Our actions as leaders are held to a
much higher standard, and criticism of our leadership
decisions is much more out in the open for everyone to
see. Simply being a team member allows more anonymity
for the quality of work and decisions made. If things don’t
work out in leadership, that person usually doesn’t have
the opportunity to move to another position within the
company like a non-manager does.