- Find and fund cool projects: Leaders get to find cool projects. When leaders are open to listening to the people inside their organization (often deep, deep inside their organization), they can often find ideas that allow them to create something new, something better, or something that makes a difference for their clients. One of the great things about being a leader is having the checkbook and the ability to put the resources behind those cool ideas.
- Building leaders: There aren’t too many things cooler than building the next generation of leaders. As a leader, you can help hire future leaders. And when you spot talent, you can give that talent increasing levels of responsibility to help them develop into the leader your organization is going to need. This is your legacy.
- Helping others to grow. A leader doesn’t only make a difference in the life of future leaders. If she is at her best, she gets to do the work of helping the people she leads grow and develop into their full potential. This work is one of the things that separates the leader from the manager (and a good manager is almost always a good leader).
- Focusing on the future. So much of what you do in business is about the here and now. There are always urgent issues requiring your attention. But one of the coolest things about being a leader is being able to focus on the future. As a leader you need to spend your time exercising your imagination, and deciding what the future is going to look like. You get to focus on the big picture strategy.
- Go to war with the status quo. There are plenty of people inside an organization who will do everything in their power to defend the status quo, much of it worth defending. But it takes a leader to decide to make change and overthrow the status quo. Leaders don’t make change for the sake of change. But they do make the changes necessary to help the people and the organization they lead reach its full potential. And what could be cooler than that?
Leadership is challenging, difficult work. But is also rewarding and full of cool things to do.