The biggest mistake I’ve made as a leader is taking for granted what an honor it is to be in a leadership role. It’s easy to fall into the stress trap of leadership where your focus is directed towards managing the everyday chaos of leadership instead of appreciating the opportunities that being a leader presents you with. As a leader, you are trusted with the opportunity to make the lives of those you lead better every day and in my opinion, that is the highest honor you can be entrusted with.
The common misconception is that leadership is a right that comes with experience and tenure – but it’s not. In fact, it’s far from it. Management may be given to those with experience and time invested in an organization but leadership is about much more than just barking orders and managing tasks & people. The responsibility of leadership should be awarded to those who put the needs of others above their own and who thrive when knowing that others are rely on them for success and direction.
In essence, leadership is the responsibility of one to care for many. The leader is responsible for caring for those they lead way beyond the the simple functions of their daily job. As a leader, you are responsible for the well-being, success and happiness of those you lead and a wise man once shared with me an analogy that forever changed the way I viewed this leadership responsibility. He told me to think of leadership like a pair of footprints. He said that as a leader, you make choices everyday that impact the direction that those footprints lead to and that the responsibility of leadership comes with understanding that those you lead are following those very footsteps…
Now, as my wife is pregnant with our first child, I can only hope that I am fortunate enough to lead my children in a way in which they want to follow my every footstep. In whatever capacity you lead, by approaching leadership this way you humble yourself enough to appreciate how much of a privilege leadership truly is. Being responsible for another persons well-being, happiness and guidance towards success is an honor and should be treated as such.
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