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June 24, 2014

Why the Best Leaders Say No

For the last several years, I’ve been truly blessed to be able to meet and work with numerous leaders throughout the country. Some lead in their homes and communities while others champion new start-ups and others lead Fortune 500 companies....

For the last several years, I’ve been truly blessed to be able to meet and work with numerous leaders throughout the country. Some lead in their homes and communities while others champion new start-ups and others lead Fortune 500 companies. And yet, regardless of where or how they make an impact, nearly every one of these leaders has one character trait in common: They don’t want to disappoint people.

Aiming to please is basic human nature for most of us, but that trait tends to be especially strong for those leading others. Here’s the problem though: You can’t be a truly effective leader without disappointing others. Like the old saying goes, you can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

It’s a tough concept to accept. We all want to be liked. (Me too!)

It’s especially hard here in the South, where we’re taught from nearly day one to be over-the-top polite and go out of our way to help others.

The problem with this kind of thinking is when we get so caught up in trying to please everyone that we end up being doormats instead of leaders.

  • We go places we don’t want to go and do things we don’t want to do.
  • We are reactive instead of proactive.
  • We work in the business instead of on the business.
  • Our commitments manage us instead of us managing them.
  • We get caught up in tactical things and have no time left for strategy.

In our communities, businesses and relationships, we’re so busy trying to accommodate everyone that we spend all of our time trying to catch a tidal wave in a teacup and in the process, we lose sight of the vision and passion and purpose that made us want to lead in the first place.

But there is one skill that the best leaders have that enable them to break the cycle of people-pleasing and truly lead effectively: the ability to say “No.”

This concept is one that we understand intellectually, but we (myself included) have trouble living out day-to-day. Since it’s a constant struggle for most of us, we are going to dive into this more tomorrow in my free EntreLeadership eCoaching session at 10:00 a.m. CT.

Regardless of where or how you lead, I encourage you to sign-up HERE.

Leadership is never easy, especially when it comes to saying “No.” But you’ll never make progress in your business or personal life without mastering this skill. You don’t just have the right to say no; you have the responsibility. And here’s the best part: When you stop doing what everyone else wants you to do, you open up opportunities and free up time for God to bring you more things that He designed with you in mind. 

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