leadership is a thankless job

Leadership is about doing the right thing, not an easy one. It involves making hard choices, stepping up and providing a much-needed service whether it is at work, home, in the community or the entire world. 

If we expect ourselves to be leaders, then we must understand that leadership is a thankless job. As Ryan Fahey points out, “Leadership is really simple and it is mostly thankless. To be a leader means to give your word; stand by your word and deliver results on your word.” If we lead simply to receive acclaim and recognition from others — the pat on the back, the thundering applause and the countless compliments that say how great a leader we are, then we distance ourselves from knowing what true leadership means. Leading just to receive thank yous, rewards and the external validation that we’ve been craving for is a huge mistake. 

Leadership is a tough road — occasionally smooth but many times bumpy. True leadership is all about doing our best work even if we don’t receive any acclaim or applause for it. We need to consider leadership as our duty no matter what kind of situation we are in. We must do what leaders do, not as a means in order to receive credit, fame or recognition, but as an end by itself. We need to simply be satisfied that we are doing a good deed and helping others not worrying what we’re getting in return.

In other words, to become a great leader, we need to let go of any expectations or outcomes, only then we’ll able to take superior actions towards the betterment of humanity and this world.

As Marcus Aurelius writes in Meditations, “One person, on doing well by others, immediately accounts the expected favor in return. Another is not so quick, but still considers the person a debtor and knows the favor. A third kind of person acts as if not conscious of the deed, rather like a vine producing a cluster of grapes without making further demands, like a horse after its race, or a dog after its walk, or a bee after making its honey. Such a person, having done a good deed, won’t go shouting from rooftops but simply moves on to the next deed just like the vine produces another bunch of grapes in the right season.”