The Bumpy Journey to Great Leadership

traditional road speed bump isolated on whiteIf anyone ever told you that leadership is easy, you were listening to someone who has never led. Sure, there are times when commitment and passion drive the desire to lead. However, there are times when being a leader can feel bumpy and like an unwanted burden.

In the play, Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare, the character Malvolio said:

“Some are born great, others achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

The same can be said about leadership. Taking on a leadership role can be a challenge and personal struggle. After all, leadership is not about organizing a cadre of individuals and managing their behavior.

Leadership is about change and, more often than not, people resist change even when it is for the better.

Just last week, a couple of my friends shared things that were going on in their lives. One is in the midst of an enjoyable and happy time of her life; the other is facing tremendous challenges including suffering and sadness. Situations like this make it appear that certain individuals live a charmed life while others always grapple with life’s challenges. Some people meet each day with hope and optimism while others carry around a burden of sadness, anger, or depression. It kind of makes life seem unfair. So why then do people facing similar circumstances have drastically different approaches and outcomes?

I believe that life is a journey, and each of us is on our own distinct path.

“Every journey is as unique as a snowflake with no two exactly alike.”

Siblings, even twins, raised in the same household, by the same parents and provided the same opportunities, can have lives that turn out drastically different.

A similar thing applies to leadership. Everyone has his or her unique style and pathway to leadership. Some people take to leadership like a fish to water and seize opportunities that demonstrate their capabilities and commitment. Others struggle to find their place as a leader or perhaps believe that it’s a role for others to fill. Their leadership experience is more a burden than reward. How you approach your role and responsibility, as a leader will determine whether you thrive or struggle.

Every day leaders make countless choices and decisions that take you down different roads and paths. Conclusions made quickly and intuitively, rational decisions that are analyzed deeply, and various alternatives sprinkled in between all impact our progress. Even deciding NOT to lead is a choice that affects this journey.

The opportunity to lead will present itself time and again throughout our lives and careers. Whether you embrace or reject this occasion to lead depends entirely on your perception and life journey. You are in control.  Will leadership be something you seek or will it be thrust upon you?

So here’s a question I offer you to contemplate:

If the choices we make as leaders determine our individual leadership journey, what choice can you make today that will help you be a better leader?

Originally published at Bizcatalyst360 

Carly Vivian

Carly Vivian

Carly Vivian is an expert in leadership development and strategic change. She is on a mission to reinvent how people think about change and to teach leaders how to guide their teams through major transitions with ease, excitement, and enthusiasm. As a change strategist, executive coach, and trainer/facilitator, Carly helps managers improve results by identifying and developing their unique leadership formula to shine. Carly is President/Co-Founder of Cogency Group, a training and development consulting firm, and heads their leadership and change strategy practice. Over the past 20+ years, She has advised senior executives and managers in numerous Fortune 500 companies to strengthen leadership capabilities and create irresistible and positive change within their organizations. Carly can be reached at

No Replies to "The Bumpy Journey to Great Leadership"