3 Reasons You Should Expect to be Misunderstood


[vimeo id="165185603"] If you’re going to lead, you need to accept that you’ll be misunderstood. People will misjudge you and your intentions. And some people will walk away because they won’t be able to move in the same direction you are. Leadership and being cool aren’t the same thing.

And all of that’s OK. Leadership, especially in the pursuit of breakthrough, is tough. It means you will be unpopular with some. It means you may face some tough questions. And it means that you just might risk being misunderstood.

Every leader has experienced WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE misunderstood.

Now that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a responsibility to explain your vision, listen to the input of others, and consider the costs of your decisions. A good leader does that, too. Leadership and dictatorship are two different things.

When you’re leading an organization, you can’t expect to just “say it” and expect it to be true. However, you also can’t wait for everyone to jump on board. Sometimes you just have to resolve that when you move forward, not everyone will go with you.

Here’s why:

  • Your vision is yours. It’s your job as a leader to enroll others in your breakthrough plan. But it’s still the decision of each person to either follow you and choose another path. You can’t force.
  • Everything is for a season. The writer of Ecclesiastes was spot on. There is a season for everything. That’s true for people and organizations. Sometimes change is the catalyst for someone’s next adventure.
  • People are people. Jesus didn’t die because he had bad breath or wore clothes that were out of style. He died because He challenged the very foundations of political, social, and religious authority. He was a threat to some people. And, in turn, He had to be neutralized. I’m not saying leading breakthrough will bring about your death. But know that not everyone wants what’s best. Some people are only committed to what’s best for them.

What should you do if you feel like you’re being misunderstood? Let me suggest three things.

  1. Check your intentions. What’s your motivation? Have you done your research? Can you defend the direction you’re taking and the decisions you’re making?
  1. Seek wise counsel. Find leaders who have led breakthrough in their organizations and ask for their wisdom. You might uncover a blind spot you didn’t know was there.
  1. Have faith. Trust yourself. Resolve that some things are out of your control. If you feel like you’ve done everything you can, then take a deep breath and make the leap.

Leadership isn’t easy, simple, or without a few bumps along the way. But I’ve found that whatever valleys I am willing to endure always result in a mountain top experience. Don’t miss the “win” in an effort to avoid the “pain” of endurance. Keep going. Don’t give up. I need you to lead strong.

Next Step: Identify one pending decision that you need to resolve today. Determine if you need to move forward or circle back around with some key people you need on your breakthrough journey.