When Leadership is Hard

painfulHere’s a nice book by Jeff Iorg entitled The Painful Side of Leadership: Moving Forward Even When It Hurts. It’s only a few quid on kindle at the moment and has some helpful nuggets on the reality of leadership. Here are some highlights:

“The realities are sheep bite, run amok, get diseases, wander into trouble, and are attacked by wolves . . . Shepherds are also less than perfect . . . They drive their sheep, lash out at they, yell at them , and even hit a few with their staffs. And, worst of all, shepherds sometimes flirt with other herds, hoping to find greener pastures and better sheep than the ones they are stuck with.”

“Leadership is often painful because leaders are change agents . . . and real change can mean real pain.”

“Success means change, and change usually means pain for someone . . . We must lead even when it hurts.”

“When you slap a pig you get muddy”

“Every critic can’t be right; every suggestion can’t be heeded. If you attempt to adjust your organization to accommodate every critic, all momentum will be lost.”

“Good leaders absorb criticism, deflect and deflate its influence away from team members, passionately pursue their mission, and lead their organization to do the same.”

“If your critics are frequent subject matter for your meetings, conversations, and organizational communication – you can expect your followers to divert attention to them rather than focusing on the mission”

“Effective leadership is largely about timing”

“People follow people more than ideas or proposals”

“Leadership isn’t the role you play; it’s the life you lead”

Sometimes leadership books can feel a touch idealistic or triumphalistic exacerbating my own sense of inadequacy. Here’s one which lives in the real world filth and mess of church life. It’s a worthwhile and ‘encouraging’ read in its own way.


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