Leaders carry a great responsibility. For better or worse, they influence the lives of those under their care. And there’s a certain vulnerability here. We’re held accountable for the decisions we make and we can’t blame or hide behind others.
Some respond to this vulnerability by becoming overly demanding. With their pride on the line they cannot tolerate even entertaining the thoughts and opinions of others. If they’re responsible then their opinion is the only one that matters.
Others respond by becoming overly accommodating. They hide behind group consensus rather than making decisive and needed decisions. If the group agrees then they all share responsibility rather than just the leader alone.
To be sure, being a leader is hard work. And part of its difficulty is the vulnerability that comes with the position.
We have the authority to make things happen. But there’s also no room to hide. We’re ultimately responsible and bear the brunt of the blame if things don’t go well.
Of course, we need humility. Leadership is not intended to be a one-man show. And there’s great benefit in surrounding ourselves with many wise advisors. While the buck stops with us, this doesn’t mean we must figure out everything on our own.
At the same time, we need courage. Someone has to make the hard and unpopular decisions, and group consensus doesn’t always provide the decisiveness needed. While the group can offer many useful insights, we must still have the courage to make clear decisions and keep things moving forward.
We become ineffective when we’re not aware of the vulnerabilities of leadership – blindly putting a lot of effort into hiding and not accomplishing the tasks God has given us.
Faithfully carry the burden of leadership by accepting both the responsibility and the vulnerability it comes with.