Monday, September 15, 2014

Leaders, Prepare for Pain

I am not now in a place of unusual or exceptional leadership pain. Every leader experiences pain. This includes me. I'm saying this because the following quote is not some cathartic, hidden-message act on my part. It's just truth, expressed well.

Ruth Haley Barton writes:

"I have seen and experienced things in leadership for which I still don’t have categories and may never this side of heaven—as I’m sure we all have. But one thing is sure: the choice to lead something, to orient your life toward some vision or ideal and to lead in that direction opens you to a world of challenge and pain that you might not otherwise have to face." 

Barton gives an example, citing Edwin Friedman:

“A major difficulty in sustaining one’s mission is that others who start out with the same enthusiasm will come to lose their nerve. Mutiny and sabotage come not from enemies who opposed the initial idea, but rather from colleagues whose will was sapped by unexpected hardships along the way.”


Among the many joys of leadership there is also pain in the offering.