My old Church Youth Pastor once said to me if you're going to be a leader 'be prepared to be ugly'. This didn't massively encourage an image-conscious, insecure young person to have self-assurance in his physical appearance! Of course I knew then, and I know now he wasn't on about what I looked like at all. He was simply saying, if you want to lead, be prepared to do the dirty work, clear up the mess, and certainly don't expect all the credit for all your hard work.
If things go badly (and they will) and your leadership isn't quite working (and at times it won't), others will gladly point the finger at you, and remind you that your responsible for the horrible mess that has been created. And even if things go well, you'll feel obliged to humbly suggest through gritted teeth, that it was actually the others in your team who made it happen, and suggest that they deserve the credit. Leadership can be tough - being a leader can be ugly!
So why lead at all? Indeed, why 'Lead'?
However, the reason I am so excited about the organisation Lead is because I believe that a generation will lead in a way that says 'I'll do whatever I can to make these dreams become a reality, and to see this world become a better place. I believe that 'little me' can positively affect the media, or the political landscape, or the education system my local sports club or whatever else I dare to invest my time and energy into. Yes there will be struggles, yes there will be hardships, but it'll be so worth it when I significantly help my family, or see my community transformed, or my school free from bullying, or this nation free from the evils of terrorism. I am prepared to be ugly as I wholeheartedly believe I can make a difference.'
Just as many folk won't have read this far in the blog, many leaders chuck it all in too close to the finish line, and never enjoy the fruits of their hard labour. They don't ride the storms and therefore miss out on their visions being realised. Just as the beautiful butterfly comes from the ugly chrysalis, the dreams planted in you will be deeply inspiring for all, when you see them through to completion. Keep going and keep leading, because the beauty of your leadership will break through in the end, just like the butterfly breaking out from the chrysalis.
Lead completely believes in you and has absolute confidence in you. Have you got confidence in yourself?
GO, CHANGE THE WORLD!
Andy Harding, founder of Lead