The Weight of Leadership

Leaders carry a certain amount of weight on their shoulders. The weight they feel depends on the size and degree of what they are leading. Someone with a small amount of influence will feel the weight of leadership less than someone who has gained a larger capacity of influence. Below are two weights a leader will have to bear no matter who they are leading:

1. Responsibility

A leader has the weight of final responsibility. It’s easy to take responsibility when everything is going well and the team or organization is seeing success. However, it’s a different story when the team or organization is not producing the desired and necessary goals. We can try and blame other people, the economy, or outside circumstances but the final finger should point toward the leader.

The purpose and task of leadership is to move the people and organization toward a better future and desired results. This means even through times of turbulence or failure leaders must take ownership of what’s going on and then make the necessary changes so the people and organization will be moving forward. This can be a heavy weight on a leaders shoulder, but that’s the price of leadership.

2. Demand

The demand of leadership can also bear heavily on leader’s shoulders. This is because leading requires energy, effort, and time. Leadership takes and demands a lot. Effective leadership demands:

  • Investing yourself to train and equip those around you.
  • Being a constant example of someone who is firmly founded and lives on character and integrity.
  • Taking time to connect, serve, and build relationships with the people you’re leading.
  • Being the catalyst for change and consistently producing the desired results.

Leadership can be demanding however the work and effort can really pay off when you see people positively impacted and moving toward a better and desirable future.

 Questions: What are some other weights of leadership? Are you successfully bearing the weight of leadership?

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44 thoughts on “The Weight of Leadership

  1. This is true. Anytime your actions will have a big impact on people other than yourself, you’re going to feel that weight. And the more people your actions affect, the heavier that weight will feel . . . so the wiser your decisions had better be.

    When you step up to leadership, you’d better understand and accept all the responsibility that comes with it. Not necessarily for yourself, but the responsibility of all the people you’ll affect.


  2. The weight of uncertainty can sometimes hinder leadership. Knowing well that we have no control over what’s going to happen tomorrow can act as a weight in and of itself. By God’s grace and the wonderful support of family and friends, the weight of leadership in regards to uncertainty is more easily distributed through prayer and words of encouragement. Hope this helps my friend! Have a fantastic weekend!…:-)

  3. I’m not sure if this is too similar to point one but one of the hardest weights is expectations. You constantly have to hit a certain marker or even exceed it constantly because people expect that from a leader. There is no margin for error.

  4. I think the weight is relative. It’s like working out. You start with small weight and it taxes you. After years of growing in responsibility and carrying more weight, we come to carry weight that would crush others and would have crushed us in the beginning. When a leader owns the responsibility of the ones they are leading and it is an honor more than a weight; I think that wisdom from above will bring success. Which is a whole other subject! You got me thinking again, Dan… You seem to have a way of doing that! I like it. Thanks.

    • Great points Floyd. I think it’s both an honor and a huge responsibility, leadership that is:) I’m glad the post sparked your thinking, that’s my goal.

  5. Hi Dan,

    I really enjoyed your post and in particular, I could connect with the point you made about responsibility. Putting myself into a follower position, my respect for a leader can be made or broken, just by simply observing how the individual deals with difficult periods when goals are not being acheived. A true leader will take ultimate responsibility for these difficult times and admit when he/she may have got it wrong.

    Thank you,

    • Hello Hiten,

      I think that’s the true test of leadership. How we handle and take care of what’s happening when things aren’t going well. A leaders attitude and behavior can really be revealed during those times. Thank you for adding to the conversation.

  6. It may seem like a heavy weight, but I like to put a twist and think of it as uplifting. It gives you a reason, some why power, and best of all accountability. It’s much harder to quit if 100,000 people are watching you unlike if you’re doing things alone. I’d also add the joy of support, for if you’re in need of something, you have many loyal people who are willing to help, and of course give before receiving, but that’s how you got to be a leader anyway, isn’t it?

    Wonderful Dan!

    • Great points about the need of support. Reaching our to our people for support is so important. Though the “weight” of leadership can be heavy the feelings of fulfillment and joy while leading is totally worth it. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  7. Your first point reminds me of Maxwel’s quote, everything rises and falls on leadership. Just the title itself is a weight :) I agree with Vincent on expectations. great thoughts!

  8. Hey there Dan. I think the most important word in that entire post was “connect”. Sure leadership my seem like a burden at times, but when you are truly connecting with those you lead, you have this weight lifted through the connection. I’ve found that this can make me actually seek out the challenges of leadership, knowing that the rewards far outweigh any burden that might exist.

    • Hello Matt,

      Great point! The weight can be greatly lifted by having good and talented team members. Leadership is defiantly rewarding on so many levels. Thank you for checking out and commenting on my blog. I hope you enjoyed the post and I look forward to connecting more.

  9. Great post, Dan. I’ve often felt the weight of responsibility – both as a pastor & as an advocate for people. But that’s part of the calling, huh?

  10. Excellent insights Dan. Many aspire to leadership because of their need for validation, power or acclaim–and they aren’t aware of the points you make. Effective leaders aren’t leading to get love, they are leading because they love.

  11. Dan, I know responsibility is a huge weight leaders carry. It’s something that concerns me especially when I hear of someone misinterpreting something I’ve said. There’s the wondering if you could have said it differently or if the person was just looking for “confirmation”. Then I begin to wonder if I’m responsible for the actions afterwards.

  12. Dan, that Leadership weight you speak of is all too true. I feel that the weight of duplicating Leaders can be difficult because our ultimate goal should be to make others that are duplicates of ourselves but only MUCH better. How can we become better servants and Leaders that duplicate well.

    • Great point, leadership is all about pulling out the potential in others and training them to take charge. Great thoughts Lincoln Parks and thank you for sharing them.

  13. I feel #1 every day. I empower my team to make the right decisions, but at the end of the day I’m responsible. There is a reason they fire the coach when things get tough for a sports team and not the players!

  14. Hello Dan, thanks so much for a great share. You’ve seems to covered leadership very well. Holding a leadership status take a certain kind of person and yes it does take a lot of effort.

    Thanks so much for a great article my friend.

  15. Dan,

    All I can say is the responsibility and demands of leadership will help you experience a range of emotions. I have cried with my Soldiers, I have held them accountable, I have celebrated with them, and I am grateful for having the opportunity. Recently, a former Soldier’s mother contacted me. Her husband (the Soldier’s father) was very ill and not expected to recover. Her son was in Afghanistan and she wanted to know how to she could get him home. I gladly called her back and provided the information she needed and I was honored she would call on me. Like Parents (in my opinion the most basic unit of leadership other than leading yourself) leaders others will jerk many emotions from you. However, one moment of joy will erase count more than the bad ones.

  16. I’m torn on this because I’m not in a “leadership” position, although I lead/influence/shape in a variety of ways. When
    I look at pressure, I see places of pressure in driving programs down the
    command chain. Where a decision has been
    made, and a person in a leadership role is responsible for ensuring it’s fully
    implemented, regardless of feedback.
    Execution, which falls a bit under “responsible” – perhaps it falls into
    some sort of “performance” category as well.

    • Those without an official leadership title can still feel the weight of what we are leading or influencing. Thank you for sharing your thought and sorry for the late response.

  17. One of the weights of leadership that I shouldn’t be bearing – but have a tendency to bear – is people pleasing. Making everyone happy. I need to learn to please God and love others – and not worry about making everyone happy!

  18. Great post on leadership. Short, sweet and direct to the point. Surely, it’s not easy to be a leader. To borrow from Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility”.http://www.ultimatecoldcalls – Eliminate your fear of cold calling once and for all.