The lure of being the one in charge is certainly an attractive one, and given the self-centered attitude of today’s crop of “leaders”, it is quite understandable that the burden of leadership is missed.
When most people look at others in a position of leadership, all they see is the trappings of high office. They see the fame and miss the loss of a private life. They see the fancy parties and meetings in lavish surroundings and miss the fact that it is not a pleasant diversion but something that completely consumes one’s life. They see the power to make decisions that affect our daily lives, yet they don’t see the agonizing that goes into making those decisions. True selfless leadership is an enormous burden to carry. Leadership means making decisions that many people are not going to like. The military leader must make decisions that he knows will result in the certain death of men under his command.
Providing leadership is something that every man should be willing to do, and for the sake of his fellow man, should desire to do. That doesn’t mean that we should pursue power for its own sake though. Anyone who actively pursues power is, by definition, lacking in a key qualification for leadership – a selfless desire to provide service to his people.
Selfless leadership entails an enormous burden. If one is in a position of leadership, and the weight of that responsibility is not felt, then something is seriously wrong.
(This is the 7th post in the “Lessons in Leadership” series)