Many people often think inside their head, talk about, or wonder how great it would be to be the leader, “If I were the leader, I would…”, “If I were in her shoes or his position, I would tell this group to do this or that, I would get along with these people and argue with these people. I would most certainly support this and speak up against that.” Time and time again, the world around me teaches me though, that we are not in their shoes, we are not in their position and believe it or not, they are more often than not doing what they think is best. It may be a leader of a football team, company, community group, doctor’s office, classroom, cub scout pack, school board, mayor, governor, firefighter, family or church, or any other kind of group where somebody has to make decisions every day. Most everyone in those spots know it’s about 180 degrees different most days than people think.
Whether you lead a soccer team, fifth graders, or the effort to change something or keep something the same in your business, organization, community or family, there are a lot of people that can “LIKE” it so to speak. What you do, what you stand for, what you prioritize, how you interact, what your decisions are, why they are made, and how they are made. Anyone that has a stake in what you are leading gets to have an opinion on everything you do. The fact is that every leader has to make a whole bunch of decisions large and incredibly small at times, and no matter what you decide, there will be a whole bunch of people that don’t like what you decided.
Glory vs. Work
Are they doing it for the glory, whether it be money, fame, power or another selfish interest one might have, or are they committed to the work, to the good as their primary reason for wanting to be a leader?
When I study them, the vast majority to me seem to have received generally more hassle from the role than a benefit. That doesn’t tell me that all leaders are great and nobody has issues. They all do, everybody does. Most of the people that are doing this stuff though are doing it for the right reasons more than the wrong reasons.
Sure, I’ll find 10 a day that drive me nuts because they are making goofy decisions that, from my frame of reference, just don’t make sense or I think have lousy intent or end result. But overall, they are decent people, with many of them great people, doing what they think, based on being in their shoes, is the best they can. Are we going to like 70% of what they do or 42% of what they do or 18% of what they do? Probably depends a ton on the day, the issue, and the relationship that we have to that situation. And maybe one second before we are quick to jump on anyone, on any side, of any equation, maybe we would actually say, “Hey, what are all the things involved with that decision that I’m probably not aware of that may help me understand it better.”
It doesn’t have to be partisan all the time. We can all have groups and opinions, conflicts, differences of position, or think there would be “someone”, more “something”, to lead that entity. Most of the people on the other side of what ever it is that we are opposed to are not, however, evil. They are mostly not horrible people trying to destroy anything, or scheme the system, however poorly you may view any of their opinions. Most are not trying to upset your family, friendship, group, network, business relationship or anything else. Some leaders, we all know a few, just aren’t that great, aren’t the most honest of the bunch. Being in a leadership position brings on critique from any constituents, as it should. The balance of power, the benefits of leadership, the value gain vs. contribution made, or the headache vs. the reward are all ways to look at it. Seems I am always learning about why we like what we do.
Chris Mahlmann is the founder, CEO, and publisher of the LIFE networks and has developed the industry standard for connecting people with all that is positive in their community. Visit Chris on Google Plus, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.