By Rob Marchalonis.

As I work with top leaders, I find that their role is often different than what others may think.  Which of the “three legs of leadership” are you experiencing right now?

Perks.  From the outside, it may look like being the leader is quite glamorous with lots of benefits, attention, and perks.  Images of smiling leaders in the news help perpetuate this belief.  In my opinion, it’s good that leadership comes with some advantages, because otherwise who would ever deal with the other parts of the job?  Yes, it’s true that many leaders enjoy significant benefits but only about 1/3 of the time in my experience.

Pain.  Being successful as a leader takes a lot of hard work.  And much of this work happens well in advance of whatever good results may come later.  Almost every successful initiative is burdened with tough decisions, unknown risks, delays, setbacks, surprises, hurdles, and worse.  Achieving results often requires tireless persistence and patience.  Thankfully, strong leaders are able to envision a better future, formulate a plan of attack, overcome many challenges and obstacles, and endure the painful process of achieving success.

Prostration.  Leadership is rarely a solo play.  Rather, it’s a highly relational activity that involves customers, employees, investors, suppliers, community, and others who each have unique wants and needs.  As a result, leaders must frequently adjust, adapt, and concede to the wishes and expectations of various stakeholder groups.  Most leaders spend more time than most can imagine figuratively “flat on the ground face downward in submission” to service and meet the expectations of stakeholders.  Being a successful leader often requires prostrate-like humility, so that others may be honored and benefit.

Rob Marchalonis (Rob@LSP123.com) helps business owners and leaders increase employee productivity and morale with various leadership, strategy, and process solutions. Message Rob on LinkedIn.