Someone said once, that the one thing all leaders have in common is that they have followers. True. But they also have enemies.It reminds me of a quote I read recently in a Teddy Roosevelt biography, which I adapted to:
A friend recently defined leadership for me this way:
“Leadership is disappointing people at a pace they can tolerate.”
That makes more sense, in a real, down to earth type of church setting.
To lead is to make decisions. To make decisions is to alienate some.I wish it weren't so, but it is. Every time a leader makes a decision, someone is going to disagree--perhaps strongly--with that decision. But it is the leader's task to decide, and whenever possible to communicate the reasons for a decision as effectively as possible, so that (it is hoped) the majority of folks who might have an opinion are helped toward acceptance and even support of the decision. But every decision will engender disagreement, and the harder the decision, the more likely the disagreement will be both sharp and broad.
Some leaders, wounded by this reality, turn to a modus operandi of trying never again to make an unpopular decision (which, of course, makes them more followers of the crowd than leaders of the flock). Others of us try to survive by shutting down or shutting out all criticism because it's just too painful, demotivating, and even demobilizing to hear a constant thrumming of negative reaction.
I hope to become a leader who can do neither. I hope to get better at facing the reality that decisions invite disagreement. But with THAT reality comes another: every disagreement presents an opportunity for a new decision, to fight, to flee, or (the choice I hope to take), to acknowledge the leader's role, responsibility...and respect for those who disagree.