Not everyone should be a leader.
FranklinCovey believes that leadership is a choice, not a position. And I agree 100% with that, but I’ll say it again; not everyone should be a leader.
Just because you can choose to be a leader, doesn’t mean that you should be a leader. Society and business have laid a trap that claims countless careers, and it is that leadership is the only way to earn more money, to gain influence, or to get a seat at the table.
If you’re choosing to be a leader based on this premise alone, you’re in for a rough ride. One that ends in misery and burnout.
To make sure you aren’t making the choice to become a leader based on a flawed paradigm, you’ve got to be brutally honest with yourself. Your life depends on it.
- Do you like developing others?
- Are you OK being surpassed by someone you’ve mentored?
- Can you trust others to the point where they can make or break your career?
- Can you consistently have incredibly difficult conversations that impact people’s careers, their families, and their lives?
- Can you sleep at night, knowing that you have even more difficult decisions waiting for you in the morning?
- Are you mature enough to allow others beneath you to take the spotlight away?
- Are you mature enough to actually shine the spotlight of attention on others, purposefully?
- Do you avoid conflict in offering feedback, or do you proactively resolve it?
- Do you have a need to be liked? Or a fear of being hated, vilified, or reviled?
And that is just a fraction of the reality of leadership. Take that and apply it to every day for the rest of your career. Don’t just base your decision off of the positives. Many people have thought that the extra compensation would be enough to shoulder the burden, and many people have thought wrong.
As a leader, you’re going to experience incredible highs and devastating lows. Look to the media, or to history if you want to hear about the positives but re-read this post to temper your expectations and to arm yourself with the appreciation necessary to make an informed decision.
Is leadership right for you? Be honest when answering. Consider the downsides. Remember that once you step up it is hard to step down. The risks might not be worth the rewards.
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