In Action, Leaders

“To be successful, you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like.” – Mike Gafka

There are all kinds of people and leaders in the world. Everyone is a little bit different, each with their own strengths & weaknesses. That said, most of the leaders I come into contact with on a regular basis fit into one of several buckets.

Lately the bucket that’s caused the most angst for me has been the fakers. There are a group of individuals in leadership roles (I can’t bring myself to call them leaders) who say all the things they’re supposed to say. They talk about work ethic and integrity and about how people are their most important asset, etc. And when you talk to them, you think, wow, this person is really on top of it.

Then you see them in action. And you see a consistent pattern of only doing the ‘fun stuff’. They avoid anything that looks like conflict, or anything that looks unpleasant, or anything that might keep them from being popular. It could be a people issue, or a customer issue, or any number of issues. The point is that they just want to do the stuff they want to do & avoid the rest. They’ve convinced themselves that they can succeed that way.

False. They cannot succeed that way. The reality is that as a leader you have to deal with the critical issues that your organization and its people are facing on a daily basis. You can’t just deal with the fluff that superficially makes you feel good. Sometimes – often – you need to focus on the things that don’t make you feel good, at least not at the time.

It’s not fun to deal with a problem employee. It’s not fun to deal with dissatisfied customers. It’s not fun to make changes that are painful in the short run. Too bad. If you don’t want to deal with those things, then don’t accept a position of responsibility in your business. Being a leader doesn’t mean you get a bunch of perks and extra pay. Being a leader means you are not allowed to avoid the tough issues. Being a leader means you have to attack the critical things, even if they’re really unpleasant.

So decide if you really want to be a leader. Decide if you’re willing to accept all challenges, not just the pleasant ones. If you’re not a leader, that’s OK. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Just don’t fake it. Get out of the way and let a real leader do the job.

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  • Chris Mason

    Great blog Matt, so true.

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