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  • Writer's pictureJulian Clark

The Hardest Part

Leadership has this uncanny ability to be both exciting and frustrating in equal parts, and at the same time too.

Maybe this is because there are some aspects of leadership that come naturally to us, while others provide us with a greater challenge. In all honesty, they are just plain hard. Collaboration. Handling conflict. Making good decisions. Being authoritative without being bossy. Team building. Valuing people. Consistency. Not playing favourites. Delegation. And the list could go on.

How do we become the best kind of leader who can carry our leadership responsibility with maturity and integrity? How can we keep growing and learning the right way to lead in all of the different situations we may find ourselves confronted with?

It's too much to make a list and work our way through it as if battling with the toughest skills of leadership will help us in our ability to handle the hardest parts of being a leader. Better to narrow our focus. After all, in response to the question, how do you eat an elephant? We are reminded, "one bite at a time".

Maybe this is a good attitude to have towards handling the hardest things a leader has to do. Without a doubt, we will face them all. We just don't know when, where or how. Therein lies the challenge and the beauty of being a leader.

Perhaps the best way to learn is to acknowledge we will fail at them. Failure doesn't need to be a negative. Uncomfortable and unenjoyable in the moment, failure can provide us with an opportunity to learn. The best leaders have embraced this philosophy and never allow themselves to become too important, isolated, or untouchable to the lessons to be learned by getting things wrong.

To learn, unlearn and relearn may well be the hardest thing a leader has to do.

A Different View

Or is the hardest thing a leader has to do is to keep the main thing the main thing. To be focused on this one thing knowing it will have a positive impact on every other part of who we are and how we lead. Begs the question, what is the main thing I need to keep as the main thing?

Perhaps your context plays a part. Perhaps we have to remember we are not just leaders but spiritual leaders. This influences the main thing. To be a witness to Jesus in everything we do. To think about how Jesus would live our lives, which is scary when you start to think about what you are involved in, doing in life, in what you are watching, how you fill your time and especially in how you lead. This is a hard thing to do, consistently, for a long time.

All of us do this well, and then fail miserably. Yet Jesus loves us. His response teaches us how to respond to others. In a cancel culture, Jesus would turn cancellation on its head. He chose outcasts, the unlovable and those others would reject. I love how Tullian Tchividjian puts it, "That’s the big difference between Jesus and cancel culture: while our culture (including the church) cancels people who have done terrible things, Jesus cancels the terrible things that people are cancelled for".

This is the hardest thing a leader has to do. To follow Jesus completely, to live in a way that honours Him, and in doing so, sets us apart from the crowd. This brings with it the full package of leadership ~ excitement, purpose, fulfilment, seeing people flourish, along with opinion, comments, difficulties and anything else people may wish to throw at you.

What do you think?

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