Here’s an idea that just might transform your entire career (and your life): Being a leader (and in my mind, every single one of us has an obligation to show leadership daily –regardless of title or position) isn’t about being liked. It’s about doing what’s right. So many leaders are afraid of conflict – they have a deep – seated need to be popular and cherished. They hate ruffling feathers and making waves. They are insecure and not so comfortable living in their own skin. But great leaders are different. They fearlessly make tough calls.
They speak their truth. They run their own race, making the right decisions and worrying little about public opinion. They are courage in action.
I speak and write a lot about being caring and respectful to people. Treat your people well and
they’ll treat your customers well. That’s a no – brainer. Help people get to their goals and they’ll happily help you to get to yours. I’ll take that value to my grave. See the best in people and be the most compassionate person you know. But being kind doesn’t mean being weak. Being a human doesn’t mean that you don’t need to be strong and courageous when required by the circumstances. Not once have I ever suggested that. Extraordinary leadership is a balance between being tender yet tough, compassionate yet courageous, part saint and part warrior, friendly yet firm. (By the way, to help you get to world class professionally and personally, I’ve recorded an idea – rich and exceptionally practical audio program called “Extraordinary Leadership” which contains my best ideas on the topic. As my gift to you, you can download the presentation for free at robinsharma.com).
All that the best leaders really care about is being fair, doing what’s right and getting results. And that brings me to my gentle suggestion to you: Do the right thing rather than doing the popular thing. The
best thing to do is generally the hardest thing to do. Please remember that. Make the tough decisions.
Speak with candor. Let underperformers know when they are underperforming. Tell your superstars how much you love them. Just be real.
When you lead from a position of truth, justice, fairness and excellence, you’ll you’re your critics.
Who cares? I’ve never seen a critic show up at a deathbed. My friend Dan Sheehan, who runs a great company called WinPlus out of Los Angeles that we’ve done leadership development work with, once shared this with me: “Great people build monuments form the stones that their critics throw at them.” Nice point. Smart guy. If I had listened to all my critics, I’d still be an unhappy lawyer locked to a desk. Thank God I didn’t.