If you need to look for proof that a position of leadership is desirable to most of us, you only need to look around. See how hard political candidates fight for a seat of power. Notice how people find satisfaction from a job promotion. Heck, just look at how much work is put into making sure that your website is or close to the first item on the first page of the search engine results for specific terms. In each and every case cited, we associate leadership with moving toward the top, or being at the top of a hierarchy. And who doesn’t love the view from the top?
Of course, for some people, being at the top ends up not being what they expected. Getting the position is often far easier than keeping it – after all, being at the pinnacle means everyone can see you and they know exactly where they can throw their metaphorical stones when things go wrong.
Nevertheless, a position of leadership is still desirable. And if you want to be a leader that really makes things work, you need to remember the following:
You will fail sooner or later, and that’s okay
You may think that being a leader means you have lost the right to fail. After all, with so many people relying on you, you cannot afford to make a mistake that will not only cost you, but cost them as well. Of course, this assumption is completely unfair. Being a leader means that you HAVE to take risks, and that means that you sometimes have to fail. What you really need to do instead of avoiding the failure is to recognize the mistake and learn from it. THAT is what makes you an exceptional leader.
Take Vlad Shmunis, for example. He wanted to offer an affordable professional phone service to small-scale enterprises. His first attempt at it didn’t pan out despite the demand, presumably because it was difficult to integrate with other technologies at the time. The next time he tried his hand at it, he came up with RingCentral, which is currently the number one cloud-based business phone service in the country.
You represent the organization; you don’t personify it
One of the greatest mistakes you and your organization can make is to forget the difference between representing and personifying a specific group or brand. As a leader, you should never be expected – neither by yourself nor your company – to BE the company. If that were the case, then there will definitely be conflict should you choose to leave or should some of your principles not jive with the brand as it is known by people.
Here’s an example – Steve Jobs is known to PERSONIFY Apple, because he not only founded it but also made himself responsible for every groundbreaking move the company made. After his death, many industry experts anticipated difficulty for the company because, as far as they’re concerned, the Apple vision died with Jobs. If Jobs didn’t personify Apple, the company wouldn’t be in this predicament.
Bonus: You are not alone
You know how they say that “It’s lonely at the top?” It’s only true if you want it to be. Leadership doesn’t have to be a lonely endeavor – more often than not, it’s a team effort. Even the President of the United States has his staff whose work he knows to acknowledge. Leadership is only lonely if you fail to trust the people around you. You cannot do everything and be everything; once you accept that, you can become the best leader you can be.