Monday, August 11, 2008

Leadership - Not Just Accolades and Lolli-Pops

I speak at college and present "Hands-On Leadership" training. Also I present to many young leaders on the topic of "Emergent Leadership". I am surprised by the view of leaders sitting and golfing all day. Many students and Gen-Y leaders feel that having enemies is not the way of leadership. The challenge is that as a leader people are not going to like you.

I recall one of my earliest leadership experiences (as a young professional) I was placed as a team leader of a bunch of 40+ year old men. I was in my early 20's and suddenly I was in charge of 10 team members all at least 20 years my senior. Our first meeting was horrible - they just shot dirty looks and did not listen to anything I said. I was trying to be there friend and was not taking a solid stance.

Once I made the decision to stand strong on a topic and engage a challenging team member (who no one really liked) I felt the wind shift. Once I made an enemy the team rallied. Eventually the team member I challenged spoke to me in my office and apologized for his behavior.

Leaders create enemies and people will not like you for reasons you are unaware of. This is a challenge of leadership.

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something,

sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

One of the keys to being a leader is the ability to do what’s necessary and right in the face of opposition. It is an underrated skill since making such decisions usually gets you excoriated by many. And even worse, you rarely receive any praise even when you’re right. Nevertheless, it’s an important skill because not every decision will be easy. There are sure to be moments when a decision is the right move, but results in a departmental upset, a client not being catered to or worse – someone losing their job.

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Michael Cardus serves as an Adventure Consultant for Create-Learning Team Building. Mike facilitates, trains, and speaks to groups in a variety of settings including Fortune 500 Companies, small business, universities and classrooms. Currently he lives in Buffalo NY, he travels to serve your groups needs - where and when your group desires.