Keeping Your Chin Up in the Face of Leadership Opposition

I ran across an insightful quote today while working on my new book. I would like to share it with you.

Many of the executives and leaders with whom I work feel drained and almost demoralized due to the subtle resistance, outright opposition, and overt attacks they encounter as they try to lead their organization to the best of their ability. This is a very understandable response. It is lonely at the top. That is one of the reasons they find the services of a coach so helpful.

If you are currently in such a hot seat, I hope you find this quote from a former president as reassuring and inspiring as I did. (And please don’t let the masculine pronouns from another era make you think it does not apply to you women as well!)

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, American President

This quote is about reminding ourselves about the “glass half full” rather than “half empty.” Remind yourself about the triumphs, the exhilarating times, the refreshing times, and the joyful times. The world today needs leaders (coping with change), not just managers (coping with complexity). Both are needed, but few are willing or able to take on the role of leading.

Go for it! Keep on keeping on, as they used to say!

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Leadership QuickTip Application Question: From the opposition you are now facing, what can you learn that will change for the better the way you lead? Think of at least one thing you will do differently TODAY as a result.

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Please feel free to use blog comments to share other quotes you have found inspiring.

(originally posted to my “Leadership QuickTips” blog in July 2006)