One of the many challenges of leadership is this little gem: doing what’s right and doing what’s popular are very often two different things.
Authentic leaders do what’s right. They do what’s right even when it isn’t easy and they do what’s right even when it isn’t popular. They lead by principle not by poll. They gather facts and information and then they decide. Once they decide they act. It’s pretty much always in that order.
There are many people in leadership positions who don’t actually lead. Instead they put a finger in the air to determine which way the wind is blowing and then they go with the flow. These imitation leaders have a need to be liked and that need is so strong that they refuse to risk upsetting anyone by doing what needs to be done.
So sadly, right often loses out to popular or easy.
If you want to be a leader then buck up and trade-up from popular to respected. Do the right thing whether it’s popular or not!
If you’re not sure what’s “right” then consult with trusted resources, ask your mentor, ask other Authentic Leaders what they have done in similar situations. Determine what’s right and once you do then act.
Here’s the thing for those of you who still worry about your popularity: doing the easy thing may make you popular in the short-term but doing the right thing, while it may take some time, will make you a leader in the long-term.
Leading isn’t always fun, it isn’t always easy and leaders aren’t always popular but true leadership is always rewarding. Reward yourself, always do the right thing.
2 thoughts on “Are You the “Right” Kind of Leader?”
I am looking forward to following your site. A co-author and I are currently writing a book on governmental bureaucracy and the frequent failure of ethics and leadership in that sector. I will enjoy learning from your experience.
Thanks David, the best of luck with your upcoming book!