Originally answered Jul 12, 2017
It doesn’t have to be difficult, but it is a challenge for many who end up in the role. Good leaders have to overcome fear, selfishness, and bad leaders above them.
There is a natural tension leaders have to address, and this can be very challenging. The best leaders are both nurturing and demanding. They treat people with respect while requiring excellence. When those they lead do well, good leaders praise them, including thanking them every time tasks are completed, no matter how minor or routine. When those they lead fail to meet expectations, great leaders provide coaching to help them succeed. They don’t wait for annual performance reviews, and they don’t send negatively-worded messages. They forthrightly provide feedback, offer assistance, and monitor performance until it improves. If despite their best coaching efforts, expectations are still not met, effective leaders help poor performers find a role which better fits their capabilities.
Millions of people read management books, attend leadership training, and follow posts such as those in LinkedIn’s #leadership topic. But most are unwilling or unable to practice what they were supposed to have learned. This is an example of the gap between knowing what you should do, and actually doing it. It’s easy to read a book about leadership, but then you have to actually try out the new ideas, change existing habits, and go against the grain of what others are doing.
Leaders should serve their people, not expect people to serve them. This is not what many people think. They want to be treated like royalty, and that is a very frequent problem.
For more, see Posts about leadership.