Pursuing a leadership career – why should you lead? ·
A bit more philosophical article today, as I am pondering the reasons for pursuing a leadership career despite all the challenges it brings to our lives.
Leadership and leading professionally is one career path that in my opinion stands apart from many of the other common paths, as it has one requirement and advantage over everything else: To be a true, authentic leader and excel at your work, you must be able to first lead yourself and your own life. Only when you have found your own principles, values, reasons, and balance, will you be able to pursue the highest levels of leadership. To grow as a leader is to grow as a human being, and for me, this is one of the best reasons to pursue a career (and life) in leadership.
It is often said that if you are not leading, you are being led. However, there is nothing wrong with being led, as long as it happens with your consent and on your terms. Following a good leader makes everything easier, even being a leader yourself. The whole world and every company in it need good leaders and so do all of your colleagues. By becoming one, and taking the responsibility that comes with it, you will help everyone around you. However, if you do not lead anything, don’t know how to lead, and don’t know the basics of leadership and management concepts such as influence, motivation, goal setting, planning, execution, and discipline, you do not have a choice but to follow, often blindly. Without any of this knowledge and even a hint of a leadership mindset, it is very hard to lead yourself and your own life in any meaningful direction.
As I see it, being able to lead yourself is one of the best ways for living a meaningful and fulfilling life. Being able to lead in your work will open up a world of possibilities that you might not even have dreamt of. If done right, leadership comes with abundant internal and external rewards. Wealth and status are the most known and talked about rewards of leadership, but they are by no means the most important. Intrinsic rewards, such as autonomy and freedom, feeling that you can make a difference, endless possibilities to grow and reach mastery, opportunities to use your creativity, and the possibility to help other people, are just some of the great prizes a successful leadership career can provide.
Building a management career and leading people is not easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. However, it is also definitely not as hard as most people think it is. Positions in management can be acquired much easier than you have ever imagined once you know how to do it and are ready to put in the required effort. In many industries you don’t even need any higher education or certificates. The skills you have and the great results you create are often enough to prove your value and enable you to pursue a leadership career and management positions.
In the end, we all spend approximately the same amount of hours in a day doing our work. Wouldn’t it be better to spend it by doing something that can be very satisfying, inherently challenge you to grow as a human being, and at the same time also yield significant material rewards?
What are your reasons to lead or not to lead?
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