I always knew that I wanted to be a leader…but not just any leader (because anyone can be a leader). I was going to be “thee leader”…the big cheese…the big boss..the head honcho…I was going to change the world!
So, I did! I became the leader that I worked hard to become. I was joining an entire movement of leaders with the same leadership style, philosophies and ethics as me….Life was going to be grand, and I was never going to look back.
Then the realities of being the big cheese hit me like a hammer to a nail….or more like a hammer to the head!
The point of this article is not to dissuade anyone from following their leadership dreams, because being in such a role has by far been the best and the most rewarding job I have ever had. Instead, it’s an attempt to provide you with the less then glamorous pieces of the position so you are fully prepared to tackle the best job of your life.
You will have to make tough calls.
There will be times where you will need to make decisions that won’t
make you very popular. It’s important to gather your teams thoughts and input, but in the end, it is you who makes the final decision. You are responsible to decide what’s best. You can’t please everyone and this is often a hard pill to swallow.
It’s lonely at the top.
Everyone has a co-worker who is their “person”. You know, that confidante that will listen to you vent, wipe your tears of frustration, brainstorm with and will always have your back… the leader does not have this person within their organization and should never seek it out. You will need to seek out fellow trusted leaders and actively build a network of support (trust me, you’ll need it).
Later and longer hours
You are pulled in many different directions and you are required to wear many hats. You will need to determine what the priorities of your position are (according to the strategic plan and your board of directors).
Not everyone will like you.
And that’s okay. Don’t take it personally. This is especially difficult for the natural ‘pleasers’. If everyone likes you, then you’re doing something wrong… trust me!
You will NEVER make everyone happy.
Steve Jobs once said, “if you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader. Sell ice cream”. This couldn’t be any truer! You will need to make decisions that won’t always sit well with everyone, and that’s okay. You need to do what’s best for your team and your business and that won’t always be the popular vote.
Not everyone is like you.
GASP!! I know, right?! Not everyone shares the same work ethics and practices and not everyone will want to work with you. AND in all fairness, there are people that you will choose not to work with. You learn quickly who you share the same leadership style with…these are your people.
For both your business, your employees and yourself. You just need to identify the opportunities and work with it!.
You get to inspire and empower others.
Who doesn’t want to inspire others to be and do their very best? People look up to you as their leader and you have endless opportunities every single day to make a difference in their lives. How powerful is that?
You get to change the world.
You get to make decisions. You get to make an impact. You can make your business a great place to work. You get to brighten the days of your employees and your customers… there’s no better feeling in the world then hearing your team say that you are the best boss they’ve ever had… and these in itself is why being a leader is the best damn job I’ve ever had!