The lone leader

Being alone is part of leadership.

An advertisement from a business school says it can teach people leadership. But leadership cannot be learned in a serene classroom. It can only be learned out in the field. The field is cold, muddy, messy, and frankly usually not worth the trudge.

In a vacuum you can set up grand strategies. But there is nothing grand about strategies in the real world. They are often mundane, and the execution of them is even more tedious. That’s why people almost always fail to create sound and effective strategies — they simply don’t have the will, time, and energy to push a strategy from start to finish. It’s a thankless task that if you’re successful nobody knows you were successful. Why? Nobody knows of a disaster that never happened because you prevented it.

In a normal day, however, people praise and flatter leaders but they also mock, blame, and criticize them behind their backs. I, for one, allow it all to happen because I am comfortable with who I am and my ability and contribution in my part of the world. What people say is their interpretation not mine. I think I know myself best.

Even though there are many people who are wise and intelligent, given my specific daily situations, I know that I am alone. There is no one I can talk with for honest guidance. There is no one who I can truly bounce ideas off of. That’s why I depend on related articles and books. I have to seek out good information, parse them for my use, and think and decide for myself.

A bad day for me is when the weight of my world finally gets to me and I go to bed sad and exhausted. Satisfied, but sad and exhausted. The worst days are when I made bad mistakes and they remain unresolved at day’s end. Fortunately, the only thing more effective than leaders at solving problems is time. Tomorrow is another day.