Why Leading Is Harder Than It Looks

Many professionals are ambitious and want to get on in their career.

The problem is that in most professions the only way to progress is to take on management and leadership responsibilities.

I’m sure you have fallen into the trap of seeing people who are well paid not making much progress and in your view doing a really bad job.

Over the years I’ve seen this so many times.

The thing is being an observer of leaders and actually taking the lead is very different.

Leading really is a whole lot more difficult than it seems.


There are several reasons in my view.

Reason 1: There’s no guaranteed success manual

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a step by step approach which if you followed would mean that you were a success as a leader?

Trouble is that no success manual like this.

There certainly is no shortage of books, workshops and courses.

But in many ways a lot of the learning is achieved the hard way.

By trying, failing and adapting.

Reason 2: The stakes are different when you’re leading rather than observing

It’s easy to be the commentator, the person who does the analysis or says after the event what someone should have done.

Those people who are in the studio at a sporting event or analysing a football or soccer game are a good example.

They can give their views but ultimately the responsibility for results lies with someone else.

In organisations when you are accountable for results and there are consequences for not delivering then the landscape is very different.

Reason 3: It’s a never ending series of peaks

By this I mean as soon as you have reached one peak, goal or milestone there is another challenge just around the corner.

In other words you get very little time to rest on your laurels.

What you achieve is quickly forgotten.

So here’s my top tip.  Always see yourself as work in progress when it comes to leading and focus on continually developing and growing.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 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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