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Is Becoming a Successful Leader EVER Easy?
Successful leaders have to achieve much more in the way of individual growth and development than regular people. They conquer challenges like overcoming loneliness and fear. Becoming a successful leader is never easy, not even with the help of a skilled leadership coach.
Leadership is an act of courage and painful growth. It takes effort, dedication, and luck. That’s right: luck. Behind every successful leader, there is an inspirational mentor, but such mentors aren’t easy to find. Leadership coaching can help leaders identify their strengths and weaknesses, but a mentor at the start of one’s career is a priceless asset.
Becoming a successful leader is never easy. Leaders are not born; they emerge from a cauldron of sweat, tears, and hard effort, which is a reasonable price to pay for something as impactful and worthy as intelligent leadership.
Successful leaders are forged in fire.
As a leadership coaching professional, I don’t have to look far for why becoming a successful leader is not easy.
Leading a Team of People is the Definition of “Challenging”
Managing and leading a team of people is more challenging than anyone can imagine. From the perspective of leadership coaching, we can use metrics that define good leaders. However, from the perspective of employees as a community, the concept of good leadership may not exist.
Some may find you an outstanding leader while others find your approach to leadership weak or overly authoritarian. Some of your reports may perceive you as a mentor. To others, you may appear overbearing or controlling.
The decisions you make as a leader will be popular with some of your team members. Others will not like them. There is nothing you can do to alter the fundamentals of human nature.
Employees routinely compare leaders to their predecessors, subtly making them feel inadequate or unreliable.
These difficulties create challenges and moments of doubt leaders must overcome every day to be successful.
- Leaders may feel like nothing they do is ever enough to earn the respect and appreciation of their employees.
- Leaders will doubt their abilities and leadership skills.
- The patience and faith of a leader cannot be frail. These are virtues that leadership and its tribulations test every day.
- Leaders will go through moments when they feel quitting is the best option. However, they have to hold on and prevail.
Leadership is growth, opportunity, and inspiration. It is also loneliness. Being lonely at the top is not a cliché. It is a proven and well-established fact.
Leaders are lonely not because they don’t get into contact with others. It’s because the power dynamics of leadership and the peculiarities of their positions rob them of the chance to build meaningful connections.
Loneliness can be debilitating.
The burden of leadership loneliness affects how leaders perceive themselves. Executive coaching can help leaders deal with these problems by offering them at least one meaningful connection and helping them figure out ways to deal with loneliness.
From the perspective of a leader, loneliness can mean:
- Loss of excitement and motivation
- Distress and anxiety
- Loss of tolerance and empathy
- Tension and fear
Dealing with Fear
Fear is a crippling emotion that affects everyone, even successful leaders. As a leader, you may experience a wide range of fears, from revealing yourself as an imposter to making difficult decisions.
Leaders have to face these fears, overcome them, and help their reports overcome their fears, creating an environment of psychological safety that allows their teams to fulfill their potential.
Some other possible leadership fears may involve:
- Receiving justified or unjustified criticism
- Responsibility and its consequences
- Failing to communicate and connect
- Failing as a leader
- Failing to produce measurable results
As I have stated in my executive coaching books, leadership or business coaching can help leaders succeed. It is by no means easy, however, to succeed as a leader, even under the guidance of an executive coaching professional.