Leadership has been a buzz word in pop culture for the past 25 years. It is the undefinable ever evolving sometimes unreachable goal of CEO’s and yuppies alike. People present leadership as the cure-all for what ailes our communities, campuses, and offices. But there is a dark side to leadership, the side that no one talks about. EVER!! until now!!
It is the thing that we don’t think about until we are knee-deep in our roles. Then it hits us!! The dark side of leadership.
It hit me while listening to financial guru Dave Ramsey, the dark side of leadership is its opportunity cost! Strap on your Freaoenomics cap for a moment and follow me. When you buy a 40k car with cash, it cost more than just 40k. It also cost whatever you COULD HAVE PURCHASED with that 40k. i.e. 40k on a car or a 40k on a mutual fund the difference is you lose 35% of your investment as soon as you leave the lot when you buy a vehicle instead of the 8.5% interest you get from the mutual fund. In the end the opportunity cost is more than just the 40k. It is also the 8.5% interest you missed out on and the 25% you lost in instant depreciation. Ok!!! I’m done with the economics lesson, but there a valuable principles to gleaned here. Anyone that’s ever held a leadership position can identify with this scenario: Friday night, just got paid, party’s jumping…and you have SOMETHING to do!! A proposal, flyer, meeting, homework that you put off because of a meeting, or worst of all….a project that someone else dropped the ball on!! It is now that you are experiencing the opportunity cost of leadership. Because effective and progressive leadership demands your effort, time, and sacrifice. Whether its planing a retreat for your student organization, working on a project for work, or taking time out of your schedule to counsel a friend…all aspects of leadership have an opportunity cost. Because instead of leading, you could simply ‘be’ and go-with-the-flow. You can invest your effort, time, and sacrifice into less self-less things. And there is nothing wrong with that! Do you! But for those of us that decide to take on the mantle of leadership, understand that there is a dark side; effort to be given, time to be spent, and sacrifices to be made. In the spirit of full disclosure, every choice we make has an opportunity cost, the question to ask ourselves is, “is it worth it?”
Don’t be scared of the dark side of leadership, embrace it! The force is strong in you!! Make the most of your decisions and role as a leader, make the opportunity cost worth it.