How to please everyone

A colleague shared this mantra the other day: if you want to please everyone don’t be a leader, sell ice cream.

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You know what? He was right.

Selling ice cream is a great way to be popular. The thing is, in the grand scheme of things, selling ice cream isn’t all that important.

Don’t get me wrong, I love ice cream; but selling it doesn’t demand much. It’s just giving people what they want.

Leadership is not giving people what they want. It isn’t telling them what they want to hear. 

Leadership is describing reality, telling the truth, and painting a picture of a preferred future.

It’s often difficult to be told the truth. It’s easier to hear what you want to hear, even if it’s untrue.

To speak the truth is often difficult. It’s easier to tell people what they want to hear, even if it’s untrue.

That’s not leadership; it’s not love. When we love a person, we tell him the truth. We needn’t be overly harsh, but we must direct.

Anything else–if we’re honest about it–betrays a self that craves approval.

No. Even when it’s hard, we tell the truth.