Sunday, November 30, 2008

Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell


Effective leadership is exercised across a full spectrum of responsibilities, and also over time. Across an entire organization involving a wide variety of people engaged in a multitude of tasks (both concurrently and in sequence), the leader must spark high performance and ensure the welfare of the group. Well, that's complicated. Even if the leader manages to get everybody happy with today's reality, somebody's very likely to get off the bus tomorrow. A leader simply cannot please everybody all the time.

"Making people mad was part of being a leader. As I had learned long ago . . . an individual's hurt feelings run a distant second to the good of the service."
Leadership can't be a popularity contest. Trying not to offend anyone, or trying to get everyone to like you, will set you on the road to mediocrity. Why? Because leaders who are afraid to make people angry are likely to waver and procrastinate when it comes time to make tough choices. Leaders who care more about being liked than about being effective are unlikely to confront the people who need confronting. They are unlikely to offer differential rewards based on performance. They won't challenge the status quo. And inevitably, by not challenging tradition, they hurt both their own credibility and their organization's performance.

Oren Harari, The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell

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