What is the Hardest Thing About Being a Strong Leader?

It was 5:00 am, we had just started our walk. My friend, who is in an MBA program, leans over the side of the treadmill and asks this question, “What is the hardest thing leaders do?” I thought about it for one minuet and then I said, ‘” The hardest thing about being a strong leader is that I want my team to improve sometimes more than they want it themselves. It is difficult to help your staff find the drive to improve themselves, I wish I could get them to read, listen to podcasts, take courses or invest in their own development.” Being driven myself to succeed is the only thing I can attribute the moderate success I have had in my life.  

“Human resource development (HRD) means competence building, commitment building, and culture building” (Kundu & Vora, 2004). Underdeveloped staff cost organization millions of dollars. “In order to keep on delivering high-quality performance, it is of vital importance to invest in the employees by enabling and encouraging them to continuously reflect, learn and develop” (Beausaert, Segers, & Gijselaers, 2011).

There are 5 reasons I personally believe staff engage in a personal development program:

  •  They like their supervisor
  • Everyone else is doing it
  •  They have a WOW response to someone else’s growth
  •  It makes good business sense – there is a financial incentive to participate (or they see one)
  • There is no reason not to participate

It is the role of the effective manager to build a culture of personal development and focus on taking extraordinary people and developing them into extraordinary company assets.

Beausaert, S., Segers, M., & Gijselaers, W. (2011). The use of a personal development plan and the undertaking of learning activities, expertise-growth, flexibility and performance: the role of supporting assessment conditions. Human Resource Development International, 14(5), 527-543. doi:10.1080/13678868.2011.620782

Kundu, S. C., & Vora, J. A. (2004). Creating a Talented Workforce for Delivering Service Quality. Human Resource Planning, 27(2), 40-51.


Nathan Bush, MBA, NALP is the leadership and influence expert for real estate professionals. He is the Senior Property Manager for Affinity Property Group and a licensed Missouri Realtor. Nathan’s book Leadership Coaching as a Strategy for Employee Development serves real estate professionals and property managers to break the “Cycle of Resistance” facing their organization. For more information visit: www.nathanbushmba.com and download his book for free.