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There is one truth about leadership every leader must understand, but is difficult to receive by some leaders.

The probability is good you won’t like this truth either.

Not everyone will agree with you – or even like you – if you are a leader.

That’s hard, isn’t it? All of us – at a certain level – like to be liked. We want people to agree with us. We prefer cheers to jeers. No one enjoys being the bad guy. (Unless you’re really the bad guy.)

The truth, however, is if you lead anything, someone will disagree with your decisions and you will divide people into different opinions. There will be supporters and detractors.

(Keep in mind, there has never been a president of the United States – or any country – with 100% approval ratings.)

Leading is hard, because it takes people into the unknown. Leadership challenges status quo. It stretches people and organizations. It brings change and change is always attached to an emotion.

Leaders must be prepared to lead towards the vision of the organization, even when it means losing approval ratings.

The only way to avoid this truth is to never lead.

Here is a strong word I would say to those who want to lead. And, I say this in sincere honesty and an attempt at humility. I don’t say it to dissuade you from leading, but simply to help you discern whether you should or not.

If you are someone who needs people to agree with you or who relishes popularity more than your desire to make hard decisions and do the right thing for the organization, then I suggest you choose something other than leadership in which to invest your energies. A friend of mine says you should sell ice cream if this is the case.

And, if God calls you to be leader. Lead strong – and lead well.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • I think this is incredibly critical to recognize. So often, we find leaders who want to find that happy ground among everyone. While nice, it is sometimes motherhood and apple pie. What is more important is understanding the risk/reward of the decision and making the decision knowing that you can stand behind it when things get really tough.