Our understanding of leadership has changed significantly in the last decade. Where once leaders were thought of as being commanding, take-charge figures who often stood alone at the top of the heap, now we understand that leaders actually possess a wide range of temperaments and characteristics. Some leaders are much quieter and prefer to empower and encourage their teams, whereas others prefer to be in the spotlight. No matter how much one leader may differ from the next, there are always going to be some universal truths about leadership. Here are 3 universal truths about leadership.
- Leadership is always lonely at some point
The old adage that it’s lonely at the top may be true of top-down leadership, but leaders who adopt a more communal style of leadership might not be as lonely in their positions. That being said, there is always going to come a time when leaders will have to make a call or decision that is going to be unpopular or place them at odds with their teams. Good leaders know when to stand their ground, even when their decision is unpopular and that’s when things get lonely for a while. It doesn’t mean it’s always lonely; it just means at some point it’s going to be.
- Leadership is a journey, not a destination
No leader has ever “arrived.” Steve Jobs was infamously fired from his own company before eventually being rehired – as a much better leader. All the way to the very end, however, he was still growing and changing as a leader.
- Leadership is hard
No matter what kind of leadership style you exhibit, leadership is always going to be hard. As a leader, you are much more susceptible to the glare of public scrutiny. Leaders can’t cut corners in the same ways that many others can, and they are called upon much more frequently to take the high road. Leadership is a discipline you don’t get to suddenly forego at 5 pm when you leave the office. Leadership is developed through every moment and every action in life, both personally and professionally.