A few years ago a wise mentor of mine told me early on in my career that leadership was going to be a thankless job. It took me a few years to digest his words and see them pan out in real life. So far, his words continue to be proven correct.
Our world today focuses a lot on quick returns. We want results instantly. We post something on social media and we expect immediate ‘likes’. We are rushed for time so we expect food to be fast so we continue to order fast food. We send mail and are baffled at why it seems to take so long to be delivered. Life has become increasingly rapid in many ways. This translates into wanting fast rewards for things like good leadership as well.
Leadership is really simple and it is mostly thankless. To be a leader means to give your word; stand by your word and deliver results on your word. When we do this once or twice we can easily get a “thank you” for pulling through on the results or by following through and delivering on your word.
However, continually leading day in and day out for weeks, months and years at a time shifts the mindset of many around us. We begin to take that leadership for granted.
Our leadership becomes an expectation. Expectations do not come with rewards or thank yous. They come with increased expectations. If you have felt this in your own life in any area, you are becoming a great leader.
I see all too often people who are either in school or in the job force and they are looking for instant rewards for their leadership. They believe that when they wake up in the morning the world owes them something. Someone must recognize their efforts for them to be fulfilled. If this isn’t happening in their job, they likely leave and try to find somewhere else where they may get recognized or rewarded more instantly.
Being rewarded for leadership is an incredible thing so do not mis understand me. What I am simply referring to is our increasing culture of recognition which has become an expectation.
I work as a teacher and as a coach and I try to add value to peoples’ lives through my writing. Everyday I have to look at myself and know that I am going to work my butt off to inspire and educate the next generation of people, grow athletes and self publish my work. Do I expect any thank yous when my students’ succeed or when my sport teams win?
I have already instilled the thought that good leadership is typically not noticed right away and maybe not ever rewarded. And that is ok.
My encouragement for you today is this. If you are finding yourself looking for gratification in results or more ‘thank yous’ for your leadership look no further than within yourself. When you can achieve mental wins each day and seek self encouragement for the good that you are bringing to the world each day through your work and life you will find yourself passionate to continue moving forward.
. . .
I remember as a kid writing letters to Santa on Christmas Eve. I remember once I got older I started signing my letters to Santa with a “thank you” at the bottom of the letter. I remembered thinking to myself, “He has so many houses to visit in one night, that must be exhausting. I wonder how many kids thank him for all of his deliveries. I should thank him for making a special trip far out here to my home in rural Nova Scotia.” I am sure Santa appreciated that!
Leadership is often a thankless job.
This post was previously published on Medium and is republished here with permission from the author.
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