Does that statement hit anyone the way it hit me?
In my life, I have always tried to build collaborative teams that work better together. I enjoyed the WE mentality and consensus building that goes along with growing a healthy organization. It's fun to be a part of the group and celebrate as one.
However, I have also realized that leadership is a lonely, yet rewarding, role to play. In reading an article by Pastor Mark Driscoll, he hit the nail on the head when he wrote the following:
"By definition, a leader is out ahead of his or her team, seeing, experiencing, and learning things before everyone else. On one hand, this causes great excitement and enthusiasm because the opportunity to learn and pioneer is incredibly invigorating. On the other hand, however, the distance between a leader and his or her team is incredibly lonely."
He also said that leaders who build community, often times find themselves on the outside looking in. There is a sense of exclusion and distance when this happens.
The good news, if you feel or have ever felt this way as a leader, it is normal. In fact, it's a part of the process. If you're not out in front leading, you are probably NOT leading. Advice: Embrace the role you've been given and do the best that you can.
TEACH the team what you've learned, but understand that some may not understand the value of the message or direction until they've had the chance to experience what you've experienced. Be patient, loving, and understanding during the process.
VISION cast where WE are going. Along with teaching, describe what life will look like in the future. Explain how the work and effort that goes in today will benefit them tomorrow.
DO what you know is right. It takes courage to do what others won't and confidence to know that your decisions will be appreciated some day, it may not be today or even in the near future. I often hear leaders say, "Find out what the masses are doing and do the opposite."
I'll end with this quote from UNKNOWN.
“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He doesn’t set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. In the end, leaders are much like eagles… they do not flock; you find them one at a time.”