Leadership is Tough!


Anyone who says that leadership is easy, isn't really getting a true leadership experience. Leadership is fun, sure. It is often exciting, certainly challenging, and on a regular basis, downright tough.

Have you ever had to tell someone something they didn't want to hear? Has the future of the organization ever felt like it rested on your shoulders? Have you been able to keep your head when all around you were losing theirs and blaming it on you (Kipling)?

I am in the enviable position of being surrounded by strong leaders, both at work and in the community. They have courage, follow their convictions, remain steadfast in the face of adversity and have a clear vision of where they want to go.

Councillor Sheldon Germain is leading the Northern Classic project. It is no easy task: chairing a large group of talented leaders throughout the community in the organization of the biggest junior hockey league game in the history of Alberta, all in about three months from start to finish. It's a tall order at the best of times, a gargantuan task in the middle of a re-election run.

Claude Giroux is the Executive Director of Events Wood Buffalo. He is the "fearless leader" of a great group of special event experts who organized and executed SummersEnd, Fort McMurray's newest major festival. He kept morale high and the site operating smoothly despite torrential rain through half of the four-day event. And despite everything, his leadership and incredible spirit resulted in a Tuesday morning headline that read "Summers End Festival a Home Run".

Sana Elache is the Chair of Leadership Wood Buffalo. She is one of the remaining original leaders of this 5-year old organization whose mission is to increase leadership capacity in our region. Her commitment to the vision, inspiring individuals to make a difference, is helping to take the organization to the next phase of its existence, a transition that is inherently tough.

We are surrounded by great leaders. They embrace, without even thinking about it, one of the great notions of leaderships expressed by Dr. King almost 50 years ago.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands at times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~Martin Luther King, 1963

Leadership is tough. It is a life-path fraught with steep hills and dangerous curves. You have to keep the car on the road despite inclement weather, blowouts, and obstacles. When something pops up on the road out of nowhere, you have to react appropriately, or someone is going to get hurt. Sometimes you have to find alternate routes to get to where you are going, but as a leader that destination is always in your mind.

I dedicate this post to all the leaders out there, scattered through all levels of organizations, businesses and institutions. You are often challenged, sometimes maligned and occasionally vilified, but you are doing important work and are invaluable to our community, region, province and country!

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