Leadership is a journey filled with highs and lows, wins and losses, and lessons learned along the way. For many, it's a journey that is fraught with uncertainty, self-doubt, and criticism (from yourself and others).
As a leader, it can be tough to navigate through the criticisms and accolade, but it's a necessary part of the journey towards becoming a better leader.
One person's leadership journey can be a rollercoaster of highs and lows. There will be times when you're called a hard ass, stoic, too direct, or even a hick (yes, these have all be laid upon me over the years). Conversely, you'll also be called a god-send, a blessing, smart, energizing, witty, and fun.
It's important to remember that leadership isn't about pleasing everyone, but rather about being true to yourself and leading by example.
As a manager, it's inevitable that you'll face criticism from those you lead.
You may have people quit their jobs, without notice, because they don't like working for you (yes, this also happened to me on the day before this employee was scheduled to be in another state for a huge event we'd been planning for a year).
This can be tough to swallow, but it's important to understand that not everyone is cut out for a leadership style that requires pushing beyond limits (aka anti-average) and refusing to accept excuses, demanding proactivity and solutions vs. complaints.
It's also important to acknowledge that as a leader, you'll make mistakes.
I've made PLENTY over the years.
You'll have moments when you lack empathy and you'll struggle to understand situations where you have no life experience. (I sometimes cringe when I think about how I treated staff who had kids and who needed special accommodations before I had my own.)
It's these mistakes that help us grow and develop as leaders, as long as we're willing to learn from them.
Throughout your leadership journey, you'll achieve stellar results and make a positive impact on those around you. But there will also be moments when you're not always "On" and when you are, sometimes it's too much for many. And that's okay. It's important to be true to yourself and your leadership style, even if it's not always popular or well-received.
In the end, leadership is about growth, learning, and evolving.
It's about being willing to take risks and make mistakes. It's about striving to be the best version of yourself, while also acknowledging your imperfections.
So, whether you're called a hard ass or a god-send, keep pushing forward on your leadership journey, because the lessons you learn along the way will make you a better leader in the end.
"Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, nor the second time. Maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally, you'll hit the bull's-eye of success." Annie Oakley
Although I've yet to meet a perfect leader, I like Annie's challenge to keep shooting. Make mistakes, be gritty, and keep riding, leader. You ARE making a difference.