It's Disappointing

It was quite disappointing. I could sense frustration and even a bit of hurt in his voice. He had gone beyond expectations to connect, perform and lead on an important long-term project. The results were good and it was obvious that he was making a positive impact on the leaders involved as well as on the project itself. However, the response from his supervisor cast a shadow on his efforts. Regardless of the progress, hard work and results, the supervisor was leading with skepticism and doubt. Instead of affirming his team, he micro-managed them. Instead of acknowledging the progress, he constantly searched for ways to criticize. 

His supervisor's poor leadership left those who had invested time, energy and competency feeling under-appreciated. Even worse, they felt a lack of trust from their supervisor. The project leader said, “This type of leadership makes you want to throw up your hands and walk away.”

Then he said something crucial: "But leading well is not conditional. I will continue to invest and work hard, not because of my leader, but because of those that I lead." 

Leading well is not easy and many times it involves working with those who do not share an appreciation for strong effective leadership. We will find ourselves feeling under-appreciated and misunderstood. The more we choose to authentically invest in others, the more we open ourselves up to being hurt. That is the risk of authentic leadership. 

The up-side is that when we choose to consistently lead well, despite how we are being led by others, we will leave a legacy that will truly make a difference. 

- Larry