Why are you leading? If you seek leadership for benefits you want, it’s wrong for you and everyone else. If you are doing it right, the costs will 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 avoid

Accept full responsibility however things go

Be an example of consistent character

Listen and learn all the time

Long hours

Do a lot of coaching and encouraging

Never get to express negative emotions like anger or self pity – must keep your cool

Embrace valid criticism improving when you should

Know you will always be criticized unfairly

Never be thanked or recognized for success but definitely blamed for failure

Put the needs of others first

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

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

You have to actually experience far more from others winning than if you had gotten it. 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 two dozen emerging leaders I had mentored were just promoted to greater leadership roles by the CEO and I had slept little the night before due to my excitement.

You’ll always be able to recognize us – when the group picture is taken, we push everyone else to the front and center and we are generally off to the side or in back. Our ambition is for others. The team and mission are our motivation.