The Conundrum of Management — Three Disadvantages to Leadership

MercerCountyWorks
3 min readNov 12, 2020

by Justin Tyler

“Go to the people. Learn from them. Live with them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. The best of leaders when the job is done, when the task is accomplished, the people will say we have done it ourselves.” — Lao Tzu

Disadvantage #1: Time is of the essence.

Yes, leadership requires a substantial investment into people. Operating from the aforementioned Lao Tzu quote, even though time is of the essence, effective leaders will take the time necessary to build a foundational base with the people who are the magic behind driving the system. Undoubtedly, this time “lost” will certainly cut into executing leadership tasks that generate ROI. Yet, this time investment is money because an oversight in the wrong person, place and thing can negatively derail the best laid systems, processes and protocols for the long-term. Thus, leaders understand that properly carrying out the visionary plan of a department or organization will require a downpayment of time, talent and effort, but these actions, if genuine, will provide the opportunity to potentially reduce risks, generate profitability and obtain competitive advantage.

Disadvantage #2: Leadership is lonely.

Even if a leader is an Ivy-league graduate with an extensive track record of success working at highly-sought after companies, he or she can still feel vulnerable and lonely as a successful leader. So, just imagine how “average” leaders which strive for career ascension must feel as they trial-and-error and navigate in the blind to reach the next rungs in their executive journey.

It’s difficult for some people to transition to being “one of them.” Being “one of them” requires moving from the masses to the select few when a leader advances to management or executive levels. This change can make a person feel like he or she is viewing business from the outside-looking-in, but this response means that those feelings of FOMO and rejection are overblown. In fact, these signs are a hint that a leader is right where he/she is.

Also, leaders may find it difficult to relate or trust people within their organization. A leader must be comfortable with the thought that he/she will not be appreciated for their leadership, vision or accomplishments. A leader must be comfortable with saying the word “no” if it’s in the best interest of the organization (even if your approach is not a popular response with other employees). People will talk behind a leader’s back even if the leader is competent and respected. Workers will discuss your every move. Just know that this is normal and to be expected when you lead.

Disadvantage #3: Disagreements are inevitable.

In general, people have different personality types which are significantly influenced by how they were nurtured and the decency of their childhood and adult environments. In the 21st century, more attention has been given to administering personality and behavioral assessments for job candidates and the company’s existing workforce. The ultimate reason is to help both leaders and employees understand each other better with an aim to increase employee morale, bolster workplace performance and promote employee retention of talent (among other factors). Additionally, leadership shares the burden to be the living example of the desired corporate culture so that employees organically buy-in or they will voluntarily leave the environment altogether. Today’s leaders must have superb written, verbal and people skills to adapt to challenges and mesh with a diverse palette of workplace temperaments.

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