On Leadership

July 18, 2008

I used to think the perfect leader would be one so great at his/her job, that no one could dislike or criticize them; that they’d be universally loved by all. And I thought I knew a leader like this — I had the privilege of working with her for over a year — and naturally, as a sophomore in high school I completely idolized her.

Five whole years later, I’ve come to the startling realization that 15-year-old Nisha’s vision of what a good leader looked like couldn’t be farther from the truth. That ideal doesn’t even exist in the real world. Leadership is impossible without critics; the good leader is the one who can handle his critics well and remain impervious to it. And the biggest weakness and leader can and will face is insecurity when that happens. Who wouldn’t be? It’s tiring, but also an indicator of how successful one can ever be in a position of leadership.

It’s kind of sad to realize that my old naive concept of what “the perfect leader” would look like doesn’t really exist. What real leadership entails seems to be a lot less fun and a lot less glamorous than my high school mind could have ever grasped.

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