There’s a hidden side to leadership that we don’t often talk about.
Take this quote, for instance:
“Leadership is disappointing your own people at a rate they can absorb.” (Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky)
Heifetz and Linsky are talking about stretching the trusting relationship that leaders enjoy with their people to move them to where they need to go.
Sound pessimistic? How about this quote from a Christian leader:
Do you want to be a better leader? Raise the threshold of your pain … There is no growth without change, no change without loss, and no loss without pain. You’ll grow only to the threshold of your pain. If you’re not hurting, you’re not leading. Your vision for the future has to be big enough to propel you to face the heartaches and struggles you’ll find along the way. (Samuel Chand, Leadership Pain)
Or this one from Robert Quinn:
Leadership authors do not understand that leadership means “Go forth to die.” If they did understand it, they would not be enticed to write about it — because people do not want to hear this message. Most people want to be told how to get extraordinary results with minimum risk. They want to know how to get out-of-the-box results with in-the-box courage.
Three quotes from different sources say similar things. Leadership involves disappointing people. It involves pain. It is a form of dying.
If you are a leader, you know what it’s like to experience these realities. Be encouraged. The fact that you’re paying a price isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re doing something wrong. Leadership is costly.
Keep at it. The entire Christian life, including leadership, involves dying. In dying, we find life.
“True leaders are servants who die to themselves so others may flourish,” write Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck. “True leaders go forth, not for themselves, but for others. The Church, as no other group, follows the only One to die that others may forever live.”
Let’s keep following him. Let’s keep leading, and dying.