#59 Rock and a Tough Place

Tony Thai
2 min readMar 11, 2022

Leadership is about having the tough discussions. Saying the unfavorable positions. Telling people the uncomfortable realities. Giving out compliments. Being the unrelenting posture of enthusiasm and positivity. See the dilemma? It’s all contradictory. What we view as great leadership qualities are what some people describe as bi-polar. Don’t take all the leadership spiel to heart as doctrine. It’s dicta at best. Misleading at worst.

You know what makes a great leader? Leading…You know how they get better? Leading, and then thinking and listening about leading…Come on folks, this isn’t rocket science. It’s so weird to hear the sheeple talk about leadership as if it’s some objective metric that we hit, all the while making it seem like great leaders were either perfect humanitarians or dictators. The truth is somewhere in between. I’ll say this stuff and you won’t listen because the hype around leadership education works. It all boils down to people trying to grab headlines and convince them to practice the 18 point system to perfect leadership. People want shortcuts. I really hate to break it to you, there are no shortcuts when it comes to building leadership skills. Get your butt out there. Take a risk. Ask to lead a team. Heck, just ask to lead a small project. Take ownership. It’s scary, but you learn, I PROMISE. By the way, note that I said “Ask to lead” don’t demand to lead. Leadership is a privilege and an obligation, not an intrinsic right. Guess what, sometimes it’s not your turn to lead. That’s when you take note and account of what leadership qualities were good versus bad. And try not to be too judgmental. It reminds me of what my uncle used to tell me about turning into his own father. He hated how his father would act but as he got older he would catch himself doing and saying the same things. Same thing goes for leadership. I’ve done some stuff I said I would never do. Sometimes it’s necessary.

P.S. I know I owe you like 10 more of these posts. It just didn’t feel right with what was going on in Ukraine. One of my friends reminded me that I should think of this as self-care, so I folded and restarted. I’ll do 2 or 3 posts in a day to catch up I suppose. I still need to hit the 365 number by the end of year. Also, I’m not cheating. I’ve still written every day. I just haven’t posted it because, well, it felt inappropriate.