Most people are enamored with the thought of being a “leader.” It’s ego-boosting. Leaders usually get paid more. Maybe a bigger office [or an office at all]. And – best of all – they get to tell people what to do!

The truth is not as glamorous as that. With leadership comes responsibility – you are held accountable not only for what you do, but for what your team does. You must simultaneously be the organizer, the motivator, the corrector, the encourager, and the example. And – ultimately – you can’t make anyone do anything. You may be able to use positional authority and fear for a while, but eventually people will either tire of your ego or crack under the relentless pressure and quit, whether they are volunteers or staff.

The best way to lead is to help people “get there” themselves. They will often need some significant handholding and guidance early on, but then will then only grow if they are put into situations where they have to think for themselves – situations in which they may temporarily fail. Most of all, they need to know the “why,” not just the “what.” They need to understand the reason that something is the way it is to be able to understand how to best support it.

“Because I said so” doesn’t work – you’re not their mom…

“When you become a leader you lose the right to think about yourself.” – Gerald Brooks

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