Great leaders oftentimes make leadership look very easy. Many of the leaders I remember and encounter always seemed to be poised and confident. They seemed to always know what to say and how to handle any situation. I never saw a chink in the “armor” of the leader. But now that I have been in leadership for well over 20 years, I have become aware of some stark leadership realities.
1. You will at times be unpopular. Every leader is at some point. Change is hard and people will agree and disagree. You open emotional wounds through change. In fact, they will often blame you for changes happening in their own life because of the change you are making as a leader.
2. You will be misunderstood at times. You can have the best intentions, but you’ll still be misunderstood. You’ll have to continually get better at communicating, but you’ll still keep being misunderstood. It’s part of leading people who are different from you.
3. You will have to make decisions no one else will make. That’s what leaders do. It’s what inspires people to follow. It’s what challenges the paradigms. It’s what leads us to a discovery — and hopefully even a better reality.
4. You will be talked about – As as a leader you will be the subject of conversation just about everyday. As as leaders someone will talk about you everyday. Good, bad, or indifferent. True or false. Your life, family, work, and the decisions you make will be the main topic of discussion around the dinner table and telephone.
5. You will think that your labor is in vain – The work we do as leaders can be very rewarding. But there will be times when it seems like its all for naught. Remember we will not be rewarded for our success, budgets, buildings, or the amount of people we lead. But our success will be based upon our faithfulness to the task. For one day we want to hear the Lord say “Well done, thy good and faithful servant . . .” Our “success” is based on our faithfulness even when it seems as if all we do is in vain. “Faithful is He who called you and He will do it.” (I Thess. 5:24)