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Lead and Grow with Fortitude

So, You Have Enemies? That’s Great!

There is an interesting common thread that seems to torment a significant number of professionals—they have enemies.

Having enemies drives many into near paranoia. I have a few of my executive clients tell me—“John, no matter what decisions I make, or what I do I seem to collect enemies.”

My answer to that observation—BRAVO!!! You are doing something right. Keep up the great work.

Although there are many reasons for my response, I will share with you the number one, most compelling reason. You clearly stand for something. Far too many want to be liked to the point they resemble weathervanes in the midst of a storm. I have also found that many believe if they are not agreed with, the disagreeable party must, therefore, be an enemy.

The first thing an effective leader must know is himself or herself. What do you stand for? What are your values? If you have a laundry list of values, that is more than five or six; you have no values. I would offer that three is an optimal number. Remember, you are human. It may sound great to stand for everything good and right under the sun. It is not humanly possible to do so. The effort will leave you feeling deflated and dejected, and that will affect the team you lead.  You will be the proverbial weathervane.

Once you know what you stand for—stand for it! Will you make everyone happy? No. You are a leader, not a politician.

The second thing an effective leader must do, without fail, is to accomplish the task assigned. Leaders accomplish their mission through those they lead. Will you create enemies in your workforce? I respond to this question with a question—are you treating your team members in a fair, firm and consistent fashion? You may not make everyone happy, that is not a requirement, but you will be successful.

Leading is tough. It is accomplishing the task, on time and as expected. Leading is looking out for the welfare of those you lead before you look out for your well-being. Leading is being comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is humbling, self-denying, painful and from time to time counter-intuitive.

Will you make everyone happy? No—lead on! Will you make mistakes? Yes—lead on! Will you make enemies? Yes—lead on and congratulations, you are a leader who stands for something.