The Burden of Leadership

by Libertarian Country May 02, 2023

The Burden of Leadership

Imagine a group of teens waiting in line at a haunted attraction. As they move closer to the entrance, worried chatter begins about who will go first and lead the group through the labyrinth of fright.

Their fear intensifies with every step. This isn't your average Halloween exhibit; it's recognized as one of the scariest and most horrifying haunted houses in the country.

Rumors float through the crisp night air: The attraction gave one man a heart attack. Many have fainted, and some have left the theme park with underwear much less clean than when they had arrived.

"I'll go first," a brave lad announces, raising his sweaty palm. The others tuck in close behind him as he navigates them through the fantastic horrors that lurk in the dark. Though they will experience some scares and thrills, they feel safe and secure behind their brave leader.

Being a leader has its perks, benefits and rewards, but leadership comes with great responsibility and challenge; a heavy burden many are unqualified to shoulder.

The iconic, cinematic portrayal of the boss with his feet propped up on a desk handing down edicts from his ivory tower while he enjoys luxurious power over his minions is a work of fiction. Leaders are on the frontline of the battle.

Whether in business, politics or the fields of war, the leader will earn praise or criticism based on outcomes, whether they were directly responsible for them or not.

If the economy suffers hardships from variables outside of the president's policy and control, he will inevitably be responsible for them. And rightfully so. Leaders must declare extreme ownership. Whatever happens on their watch is their responsibility.

Likewise, if a freight company suffers lost revenues and the business is forced to close, nobody blames the forklift operators. The highest person on the totem pole is identified and they must take all the responsibility for the failure.

In the military, the commanding officer's direction and leadership could spell the difference between victory and death. They must lead with intellect, valor, skill and acuity.

In the family, the leader(s) must guide with patience, compassion, wisdom and strength if the marriage is to be fruitful and the children are to be raised to blossom into citizens of noble character. Beyond that, the leader(s) must be ready to defend the home against invaders.

The burden of leadership is heavy. Leaders must be tenacious, capable, courageous, and perpetually vigilant, ready to tackle unexpected issues at every minute of the day to be successful.

They must take calculated risks and be the captain of the ship through stormy seas. A leader must be both a protector and an executioner, a killer and a savior. 

When a great business leader is successful, they will congratulate their team or subordinates, graciously refusing to keep the glory for themselves, even though they will accept full responsibility for the company's failures.  

When given the choice, many people shy away from such tremendous responsibility. Though qualified leaders enjoy respect, grandeur, reputation and honor--qualities and characteristics most people aspire to gain--many don't want the chores and hardships that come with the responsibility of leadership.

In 1613, after a period of political crisis, Michael I became the first Russian Tsar of the Romanov family when elected by the Zemsky Sobor. His mother vehemently protested, pleading that her 16-year-old son was too young to rule the country and shoulder such a heavy burden.

If being Tsar meant only effortless prominence and a life of luxury sitting on a throne eating grapes from the hands of beautiful young women, surely his family wouldn't have objected so. But leading a nation is a laborious, dangerous challenge, as Nicholas and the Romanov family ultimately learned before their execution in the revolt of 1918.

On playgrounds across the country, little kids dream of being leaders. With the full glory of their imaginations flowing, one will claim they are "King of the hill", proudly standing atop a mound of dirt while the other children stand as peasants beneath their feet.

It's a happy and joyous theater for a child to pretend they are the master. Leadership is an honorable position to gain and secure. It takes years of hard work climbing that hill to become a prominent and effective leader.

But when reality sets in and the individual recognizes the gravity, depth and length at which they must perform to maintain their position of a good leader, many feel the inclination to quietly descend the hill and return to a career or role that entails much less burden.

Leadership is a privilege and a burden. A leader enjoys ample rewards, but will inevitably suffer hardships, sacrifices and tragedy beyond what most can handle. The cost is great, and many cannot afford it, which is why effective leaders are so valuable and prized.

If you are a true leader, we salute you. We know how awesome you are.


If you enjoyed this article, you may also like 'Is Running Your Own Business Hard?'

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