How much does a leader get paid? In the words of conductor Zubin Mehta, “I don’t know but whatever it is, it isn’t enough.” Leadership is a tireless job. Thankless, too. The best leaders understand exactly what Bob Dylan meant when he wrote: “You’ll find out when you reach the top, you’re on the bottom.”
The best leaders work much harder for those they lead than those on the team who work for the leader. To make matters more vexing, when employed with aplomb, great leadership is invisible. The better you get at leading others, the more it looks like you are unnecessary. The fruits of skillful leadership are eaten by others without awareness that the leader did much. The point is this: If you lead for the acclaim, recognition, notoriety, acknowledgment, or even thanks, you’re likely to be sorely disappointed.
Leaders don’t get paid in cash. Instead, leaders get paid in respect, trust, admiration, loyalty, and results. True leaders lead because they want to make people and situations better. Leadership is an unspeakable privilege. To positively influence the lives of others through leadership is nearly divine. Nothing else compares.