Why Do You Really Want to Lead?

Why are you leading? If you seek leadership for benefits for yourself, it will ultimately be wrong for you and everyone else. If you are doing it right, there are times when the costs could exceed the benefits to you. If you do it well, the nonmaterial benefits (e.g., we helped others grow) exponentially exceed any possible material benefits.

If you are leading the right way for the right reasons, here’s what you get:

  • Difficult decisions others might avoid

  • To be an example of character

  • To listen and learn all the time

  • Long hours

  • To do a lot of coaching and encouraging

  • To never get to express negative emotions like self-pity in front of those you lead – you must keep your cool – others react and respond to you – you are the example

  • To embrace valid criticism improving when you should

  • To know you will sometimes be criticized unfairly

  • To give away credit to the team for success and accept responsibility when things go wrong

  • To put the needs of others first

  • A chance to build and sustain a successful team and a positive work culture

  • An opportunity to aid in achievement of a mission that brings real benefits to many other people

You must experience far more from others winning than if you had personally received something. I remember a time when a colleague in another organization commented to me that he had not seen me so energized as that day. I explained that a number of emerging leaders I had help mentor were just promoted to greater leadership roles by the CEO and I had slept little the night before due to my excitement.

Our ambition is for others. The team and mission are our motivation.

Leadership isn’t for everyone.  However, if you can consistently adhere to the classic motto of Rotary – service above self – you can and should lead.