Best leadership advice ever… part 2

Posted November 12, 2009 in Latest News & Insights

In a previous post (same title, part one), I revealed my plan to put on my roaming reporter cap and ask unsuspecting execs, what pearls of wisdom were given to them early in their career that they still draw on today.

At last week’s PowerRoundtable event, the question was posed to our illustrious panelists (Lee Nehring, Jeff Gilchrist and Caroline Dabu) and here’s Lee’s:

“It’s more important, as a leader, to be trusted than to be loved.”

I was given similar advice from one of my early mentors who said: it’s better to be respected than to be liked.

This piece of advice, for me, racks up there in the “easy to say,  hard to do” category for many leaders.  But especially if you’re someone who gains a lot of your “juice” from being liked and having strong social bonds with your team.

We all know leadership isn’t a popularity contest.  If you get squeemish at the thought of your direct reports “yipping” about your latest “bad decision” at the water cooler, here’s my observation:

Over the long run – whether people like you at the time or not – if you stick to you principles and are consistent and fair with your team, you will likely be remembered, not for the times when you did things they didn’t like, but as a leader they trusted and knew they could count on.

And isn’t that better than being just another drinking buddy?

Happy leading!


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