There are many reasons leadership is challenging: staff, clients, budgets, demands on our time. But the biggest reason leadership is challenging? As a leader, we’re calling the shots.

Before getting into a leadership position, you want to call the shots. You know you could do better than the person currently in leadership. If only you could call the shots.

The Weight of Responsibility

But when you get into leadership, the view changes. And some of the decisions your predecessor made don’t seem so dumb. And you realize that, with the power to call the shots comes the responsibility for those calls.

You see, most of our life, we can do things knowing that they’re sanctioned by someone else. A parent, a coach, a boss…there is comfort in knowing that the decision is largely someone else’s.

But as you grow in leadership, the decisions become increasingly your responsibility. Some of your decisions may fail.

And that’s what makes leadership so challenging. Calling the shots can be incredibly risky to our persona when we’ve built our self-image on getting things right.

The Paradox of Vulnerability

While that weight of responsibility shouldn’t go away, it can become easier to carry if we stop trying to be perfect. Leaders who ask others for input get more information and can make better decisions. That can mean saying something like:

“You know, I don’t know as much about this area as you. From where you are, what are some considerations we should be aware of?”

Pressing through the facade of “having it all together” can help us face the very real challenge of calling the shots. And your asking for advice from others – staff, community leaders, supporters – helps you build a team.

The responsibility is still real. As the leader, you call the shots. And that responsibility is the most challenging thing about leadership. But pressing into that challenge through a measured vulnerability can help you shoulder that responsibility and grow your department or organization.

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