The Inconvenience of Leadership.

It won't be a rallying cry that gets you to start thinking about doing things differently. It won't be a protest movement or a march down Main Street.

It's more subtle.  More likely it will be a quiet look to the left and to the right.

A look that inquires whether anyone else sees what you see.

A look that asks a question.

Who will fix this?

Who will volunteer to fix this situation?

That's how leadership is born -- of necessity.

And it's never the right time. It's usually not even the right place.

But that doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do.

Leadership has always been inconvenient.

  • It was inconvenient to walk through the bitter snow of Valley Forge, but we wouldn't have our great country if men like George Washington hadn't decided to leave their riches and lead a cause greater than their own prosperity.
  • It was inconvenient to try 10,000 different combinations of elements in order to invent a lighting problem that many people didn't think they had, but Thomas Edison led us to a solutions that most of us couldn't live without.
  • It was inconvenient to stop eating and starve himself out of protest, but Mohandas Ghandi understood that the cause of freedom and fairness was a mission that he was willing to die for.

There are no easy leadership assignments.

There is no perfect time and perfect place to start leading.

It's always tough to lead.

Because in a certain sense of the word you're the only one doing it. You are the only one who stands ahead of the crowd, boldly venturing were others only mock.

Make no mistake.  It's tough.

And we talk about part of the problem.

We focus on the fact that leadership requires a lot of effort -- which is true.  We focus on the courage that leadership demands -- which it does.  We focus on mental toughness and bold ideas and ruthless determination -- which all matter tremendously.

And we many times forget that the greatest reason we choose not to lead is the simplest.

Because leadership is inconvenient.

  • It requires hard decisions and we don't want to have to admit failure.
  • It requires focus when all we have is distracted attention.
  • It requires sacrifice and we think that that's just not fair.
  • It requires investments and we want to spend our money in other ways.
  • It requires no excuses and we like to position things so that we can never come out a loser.

Leadership is inconvenient.

Doing something that matters will require you to give up other things in your life.

Things that might be fun.

But another inconvenient truth about leadership is that if you're not leading, somebody else is.

If you're not leading, you're being led.

Which begs a bigger question:

"Isn't it more inconvenient to not lead?"