Leadership Ain’t Easy – Why Are You Compelled to Lead?

by Alli Polin on March 28, 2017

Over the years, I’ve worked with many coaching clients who wanted to be “the leader”.  They wanted a bigger title, more money, recognition, and prestige as if it would finally unlock their hearts, unleash their passion, and create a fulfilling life.  I hated to break it to them, leadership ain’t easy.  There are easier paths to take… which is why we start our work with why are they compelled to lead.

Prestige has a price and quite honestly, most leaders are more like unsung heroes than people you read about in business books.  Quite often, leaders take the hard road, fight uphill battles, remove roadblocks that seemed immovable and get beat up along the way. 

If you’re waiting to be a leader until you have just the title you want, it’s time to look in the mirror and have a tough conversation with yourself.  Go.  Find the closest mirror, look in your eyes and say the following. 

“Dude.  You’re  a leader now.  What are you waiting for?”

Please don’t say you’re waiting for things to be easier before you step up.  Leadership ain’t easy.  

Maybe you already have the title but you’re still waiting to truly be a leader.  You need to ask yourself:

“Yo! Why are you in this?  Why are you compelled to lead?”

Please don’t say because you want the big bucks, we both know it also means a big effort.  Leadership ain’t easy.

My advice to my clients is the same advice I’ll give you:

  • Life is an adventure with no promises of prestige or success.
  • Work hard because anything less doesn’t make you happy.
  • Leaders take the hard road and if you’re looking for easy street, maybe leadership isn’t for you.
  • Leadership is more about your way of being than the words on your business card. Don’t get caught up waiting for permission by virtue of your title. 

Leaders take the hard road.  Are you ready and willing?

Leadership may not be easy but the rewards are high and go far beyond your bank account balance.   

Here’s what’s easy… but is it leadership?

  • It’s easy to be the person who stays quiet because speaking up may rock the boat.
  • It’s easy to be the person who lets their values flex when “important people” are leading the way.
  • It’s easy to be the person who swallows their great idea because everyone is ready to go.
  • It’s easy to be the person who worries more about what others think of them then they think of themselves.
  • It’s easy to be the person who is miserable because things never go their way.
  • It’s easy to be the person who buries their true-self so they don’t intimidate others.
  • It’s easy to be the person who lets their dreams take a backseat to everyone else’s.
  • It’s easy to be the person who walks past someone struggling and doesn’t offer to help.
  • It’s easy to be the person who criticizes the work of others from the sidelines.
  • It’s easy to be the person who looks to the top for all big ideas, decisions, and direction. 

So you want to be a leader? Get really clear on your answer to his hard question:

Are you truly committed to serve others and not just the person staring back at you in the mirror?

Many people believe that leadership is simply recognition for a job well done; a big title to match their big ego and years of working 24/7.  The biggest ah-ha you need to understand on your leadership journey is that leadership actually has far less to do with you than you think.  

 

Break the Frame Challenge:

Ask Yourself:

  • How far are you willing to go in service of your team?  Shared success?  Innovation?
  • What are you willing to put aside for the best possible outcome?
  • Why do you want to be a leader? (can’t be because it’s easy)
  • Are you compelled to lead?
  • Why are you already a leader?
  • Are you choices creating the personal leadership legacy that you most want?

Questions like these take time to explore and the best leaders, I promise you, do the inner work to have a powerful and purposeful outer impact. 

Leadership isn’t for everyone.  Is it for you?  

For coaching, consulting or speaking Let’s Connect!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ March 28, 2017 at 10:20 am

Dear Alli,
Your post brings up the hope and then delivers the goods to turn hope into reality. The section on “what is easy” gets everyone past the excuses and denials and straight on to “are you compelled to lead?”

Such a wonderful call to action without beating people up.

Great post!
Kate

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Alli Polin March 28, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Grateful for your feedback, Kate. It truly is easy to look the other way but when we see a need and do something… no matter how small… it’s leadership. Got to start somewhere.

Many thanks!

Alli

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Terri Klass March 28, 2017 at 10:34 am

What an impactful post in asking us the hard and truthful questions about leadership!

For me before I can offer up my ideas to others, I need to listen carefully. I need to take time to process the information being shared and then come up with a strategy that seems workable. At that point speaking up feels comfortable and authentic.

I agree that we don’t need a title or a dollar amount to make us leaders. We need to see ourselves helping others and sharing our best talents and gifts.

Thanks Alli and will definitely share!

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Alli Polin March 28, 2017 at 10:39 pm

Love that you know what you need to do (listen, learn) before sharing your thoughts and strategies. Honestly, people who share before doing those things are probably not leaders you and I would want to work for!

I’m touched by your final comment, “We need to see ourselves helping others and sharing our best talents and gifts.” I agree. If we don’t picture ourselves stepping up, we won’t.

Many thanks, Terri!

Alli

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Jon Mertz March 28, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Alli,

In some way, we are all leaders. At a minimum, personal leadership is our responsibility, and many hard roads require navigating on this personal path, too. Whether a follower or leader, we have a responsibility to step up and serve with integrity and hard work.

Thanks for leading the charge!

Jon

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Alli Polin March 28, 2017 at 10:56 pm

I agree, Jon. There are opportunities for each of us to lead. Not always in big ways, but there are always meaningful ways if we look for them. Also, think you hit on the heart of personal leadership – the responsibility to step up and serve. It’s my mission to help people do just that.

Thank you!

Alli

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Chery Gegelman April 1, 2017 at 10:54 pm

I love this Alli!

“If you’re waiting to be a leader until you have just the title you want, it’s time to look in the mirror and have a tough conversation with yourself. Go. Find the closest mirror, look in your eyes and say the following.

“Dude. You’re a leader now. What are you waiting for?””

Working with Lead Change Tulsa – Someone without a leadership title was surprised to hear that anyone could be a leader. And decided in that moment that he would be one. It was a powerful moment!

Reply

Alli Polin April 5, 2017 at 7:02 am

Love that story, Chery! We can choose! Love that she did.

Alli

Reply

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