Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off: A quote by GEN Colin Powell

GEN Colin Powell is quite an interesting and amazing person.  He’s also a great example of how a person can come from humble beginnings and through hard work and dedication to ‘duty, honor, country’ one can achieve great things.  Since his retirement from the Army and government, he continues to invest his time in efforts he finds interesting and important to him and others.  I saw him speak at a seminar on motivation last year and he truly is a great speaker.

This post, though, wasn’t intended to be a Colin Powell love-fest.  It is to present one of my favorite quotes of his.  Unfortunately, there are many “leaders” in all walks of life who don’t understand what GEN Powell said in the quote below.  He doesn’t use flowery words and expressions.  He just lays it out in plainspeak:

Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable if you’re honourable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: You’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset. Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by trying not to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally “nicely” regardless of their contributions, you’ll simply ensure that the only people you’ll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization.

As you can see, it isn’t strictly a description of military leadership and while the the gist of the quote can be summed up by the phrase in the title:  “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.”  My two real takeaways are the lines “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity” and “…you’ll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization.”  It’s sad, but I see ‘leaders’ who fit the former description all too often and watch the latter occur on an all too frequent basis.
About these ads

One Response

  1. This was for me and you stole it back:) That’s okay.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 699 other followers

%d bloggers like this: