Oh the plight of a leader. So much glory and so much crap to deal with all rolled into a marvelous package or title. Whether you find yourself leading your group to victory or in no direction at all, being a leader can be really, really, hard. It’s feast or famine for most. When a leader is chosen, there is excitement, hope and support. More often than not, this positive energy soon morphs into harsh criticism. Why do we have such a love/hate relationship with those in leadership roles?
Most of us reading this are fortunate enough to live in a place where having opinions is not only allowed, it’s expected. It can at times be a bit extreme, bordering on plain old disrespectful. One, of the many, reasons that I hate politics and refuse to align myself with any party is that I find it void of respect. What happened to agreeing to disagree? Or even having our own opinions rather than just doing what a group of people tell us to do or think? And on a smaller scale, how do we treat the leaders that we interact with on a daily basis?
I personally have such a love/hate relationship with being a leader. I love to be part of creating something, though implementation and follow through are not my strong suits. But I am an idea person and an opinionated person. Anyone who knows me is not shocked by this information. I like to say I have “theories.” (my sweet husband bears the burden of most of these “theories” daily. yes he is a very good man). I don’t think that I’m alone in this. If you are a living, breathing human being you are going to have some preferences and ideas of your own, as you should. But, how do we live with this tension of staying true to who we are, while maintaining what Aretha sang about so well years ago? R E S P E C T.
I had a bit of a situation yesterday where I was in a team leadership role and chose to express a difference of opinion when one of the other leaders was speaking. Since then, I have been OBSESSING about it. How many people did I offend? Was I totally out of line? How could I have done it differently? The person that I disagreed with handled it very well, and immediately accepted my apology. It wasn’t that I felt the need to apologize for my opinion, but rather my mode of expression. I do not think it’s okay to sit idly by when someone is saying something as truth that is not. Did that make sense? We are to go after a person’s words, not the individual. If we choose to attack anyone in leadership because we see things differently, we are out of line. Fight passionately for what you believe in, speak your mind and don’t hide your feelings, but do it with respect. Respect the fact that not everyone sees the world in the same way that you do. Respect that others are entitled to their opinions even when they make you nauseous. And find a way to keep the line between the person and their preferences clear.
If you respect someone, you cannot hate him. You don’t even have to like someone to respect her as a human being, with her own thoughts, experiences, and world view. I’m not saying it’s easy, or that you need to then continue to spend copious amounts of time with said person. And hey, if you both are into it, continue to engage in some passionate dialogue. Just do it with respect.
So, as I let yesterday’s event go and try to stop obsessing, I remain confident in the fact that what I did, speaking out in defense of dear friends, was right. I hope in the future that my passion will also go hand in hand with deep respect for those I oppose. Being a leader is so, so hard. Anyone who doesn’t think so has obviously never been one. 🙂 By realizing that we are only able to elect flawed human beings to lead us, maybe we can begin to let go of our expectations of perfection. Or stop thinking that simply because we disagree with someone that they aren’t worthy of our respect or allegiance. Do you have a leader in your life that needs a hug? Do you need to let go of your pride and be willing to show respect to someone you’ve withheld it from due to a difference of opinion? Let’s get over ourselves and be grateful once more that God did not create our species in a robotic form. Our opinions, though polar opposite, make life interesting and remind us that we are alive.