Leadership is a lonely path for the brave few.

Everyone is told they should be a leader, told they are a leader, and that leadership is something for everyone. 

Leadership; over done, over discussed, over written about, and oversimplified. 

Amazing hike with Alice in Killarney Ireland, one of my favorites places!

Amazing hike with Alice in Killarney Ireland, one of my favorites places!

There are over 190,000 books on amazon.com under "leadership" and over 800 million hits on Google. We have prioritized and glorified "leadership" whatever "leadership" even means, to the point of foolishness.

Like many of you I have spent countless hours studying leadership, I have read almost 30 books specifically on the subject of leadership. I have led huge teams of people with big budgets, served on the boards of many companies, and spent hundreds of hours actually teaching on the subject of leadership. Frankly, even with all that effort study and experience, I'm certainly no expert by any means. 

What I have learned though, is the glorified, puffed up, sexy version of leadership we see written about in popular books, blog posts, and Ted talks is NOT a realistic reflection on the real gritty reality of the trenches of leadership. 

Real leadership requires making impossible decisions where no one wins, and incredible sacrifice must be made. 

Real leadership requires patience beyond what's expected. 

Real leadership requires perseverance far greater than what's reasonable. 

Real leadership requires far less glory and far more pain than you'll ever read about in a John Maxwell book. (I actually like some of Maxwell's stuff BTW). 

It takes guts, it takes heart, and it takes being just "a little off" to truly be a good leader. 

Some of you reading this are pissed right now, frustrated and in desperate disagreement with me. To you, I would say, "you're probably not a leader, but instead a manager, a boss, or just getting started."  

There's nothing wrong with that by the way, but let's call a spade a spade.

Leadership, TRUE leadership, is not about being in charge of something, it's about creating an environment for others to thrive regardless of the situation, skillset, or tasks. It's dealing with people on their level, it's about understanding when to push, when to pull, when to offer grace, and when to kick someone right in the nuts. 

More than that, it's about embracing your mistakes head on and with reckless abandon. Owning them, understanding that those mistakes, failures, and missteps are all a part of growth, they are all apart of being human, and they are certainly part of leadership. 

Leadership is tough, really freaking tough, and it's not glorious. Any glory there is will always be radically overshadowed by the blood sweat and tears of real life leadership. 

There are fewer leaders than ever. 

Ironic isn't it, in a world where I have over 190,000 books on leadership right at my fingertips on Amazon prime, and real leaders are hard to find.

We need them, we need you. It's not going to be easy, in fact, it just may the most difficult part of your life, but it's important. Leadership is a lonely path for a brave few. 

Onward, 
 
Chris Behnke
 
Inspiration from the Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BOi6b1PAmxG/
 
Leadership is a lonely path for the brave few.
Took this picture of my beautiful wife @alicebehnke on a hike in #ireland. One of our favorite places!
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