Why Leading Can Seem Like Mission Impossible

We often hear that leaders need people in leadership roles to stand up and be counted. At the same time, being a leader can sometimes feel like mission impossible.

Think about it. If you decide to do something and it does not work out at all or as well as you had hoped, the hindsight squad are more than willing to analyse your failings.

If by contrast you sit back and don’t do anything, you get criticised for not caring, not taking responsibility or hiding away in the Ivory Tower.

If you try to change something, you can easily face massive resistance and a huge desire to hold on to things, even if people don’t like the current situation much.

So what’s the answer?

In reality you have to face up to the fact that in any situation, whatever you do, there are going to be people who don’t agree with what you do.

Of course you can listen, be flexible and not close your mind to different ways of achieving what you are trying to achieve.

However, you have to recognise that at the end of the day leading is not about winning a popularity contest but about delivering results.

The best leaders will always try to take everyone with them and win hearts and minds.

At the same time, remember that whatever decision or course of action you take, there are ultimately going to be some that will not get behind you and support you.

Accept this as just the way it is and keep moving forward towards delivering the results that you know you and those around you are capable of achieving.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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15 comments
Emmanuel M. says 21 May 2011

I can agree with this post 101%. It is hard being a leader, because it can be looked at two ways:
1) you sit there and tell people what to do
2) you are not a leader; you just like power

In certain cultures, leadership is has such a negative connotation, that leaders don’t even have a chance to succeed before they are criticized.

Being president of 2 student organization on campus, as well as a business owner, criticism come a dime a dozen, especially during leadership change. I don’t think Barack Obama will ever hear the end of his criticism even after leaving office.

Bottom line: being a leader means you plan, manage, organize, and control (though I would replace control with influence) and if people do not agree, they just have to deal with the consequence, whether positive or negative.

Definitely enjoyed the read.

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