When a leader is out in front they often see what others don't. It's a bit like an expedition through a dangerous jungle where the group is moving carefully over a long distance in single file due to the dense undergrowth. All of a sudden after what seems like miles, they turn and begin climbing up a steep hill to the left. The grumbling starts and the complaining intensifies with questions like, 'Why's he taking us up there?' 'Does she not think we're tired enough?'
What the group doesn't see is that the route ahead is blocked. There may be a fallen branch, or a big snake lurking in the pathway.
Either way the point of the illustration is this; the leader sometimes sees what followers don't.
How often then, and for many different reasons are leaders misunderstood? The answer is more often than you think. Even if a leader is largely trusted and has a good track record, they can so easily be misunderstood. That's probably one of the reasons why we hear the phrase 'its lonely at the top.'
Of course leaders make mistakes, some more costly and public than others. For sure they make decisions on the spur of the moment that can be taken completely out of context. However, the most important part of all, is that they do the right thing and not the popular thing.
When a leader does the right thing, they run the risk of dissent, waning popularity and murmuring in the camp; that's why the best leaders are resilient.
When a person takes on the position of leader, they put their head above the parapet. If it were that easy everybody would be doing it, but it's not.
Sometimes it's good to give a leader the benefit of the doubt, because they may well have good intentions that are simply not that visible at the time.