But didn’t Barbara Streisand sing ‘People who need people are the luckiest people in the world’?
Okay, the title is a deliberate overstatement, designed to make a point. We all need people, deep and abiding connections to our fellow humans are the lifeblood of an emotionally healthy life. Rephrased, it’s ‘you cannot lead people if your need to be liked, to be a people pleaser is too great’. To be a leader, you must be willing to challenge people to, as diplomatically but still with crystal clear clarity, tell them vital truths.
This is not always easy. Constructively confronting people requires emotional courage and to do it well requires well developed communication skills and the dedication to carefully think through the message we intend to convey and the patience to follow through to ensure that it was received and understood (see ‘I told My Team’). Your effectiveness as a leader will be greatly enhanced when you take the time to ensure that expectations around performance, available resources, and achievement of desired results are mutually understood and agreed upon (Performance Agreements need not be formal, signed documents but a follow up summary email asking for acknowledgement of topics covered and expectations set is a terrific way to memorialize important conversations and doing so makes follow up accountability easier.)
The servant leader values people and knows that the mantle of leadership comes with the responsibility to challenge all to develop their talents to the utmost, to allow none to coast. Anything less is to let everyone down: everyone on the team including them and you and those to whom you have an obligation to deliver a promised result. When you find a way to be okay with not being liked, as long as you know you are being principled, your effectiveness takes quantum leaps.
“If you are not coaching, you are not leading others forward, you are stagnant.” – Jennifer Clince, CEO, TCC
“Effective leadership is not about being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” – Peter Drucker, 1909-2005
“As a founder, my biggest regrets revolve around not having difficult conversations sooner.” – Dave Bailey, CEO at Founder Coach
“True leadership is not about avoiding confrontation, but about navigating it with grace, empathy, and a commitment to finding constructive solutions.” – ChatGPT, b. Jan 2022
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier