Life is not a popularity contest

by | 29.12.2022 | General

Life is not about being the most popular person on the planet.

This becomes obvious in seemingly small daily decisions we make as leaders. Sometimes in our #project, sometimes in our work relationships with coworkers and #team members, and sometimes in our personal lives with friends and family.

The #project manager who stops using an attendance list “because the team didn’t fill it in anyway, they said there was no benefit for them”. No, but for you, my dear. Without knowing who will be onsite at the client’s office at any given day, how can you manage your project?

The CFO, called to help his desperate key users who are overwhelmed with top #priorities from project, operations, and training, asking him what is the top priority and which tasks they can leave for the rest of the week. “Everything is important.” Yes, that’s why you are the CFO to tell them how to sequence the critical things when it isn’t obvious or possible to do everything.

The friend who is trying to heal a relationship between two others, being faced with reluctance and resistance from both. “I would have expected more tolerance from you.” Yes, maybe it seems like a tolerance issue for you. But you need to learn to respect the boundaries of others. And it is up to the two people involved to decide how they deal with their relationship.

Making #decisions, requesting actions, expecting follow-through and putting up #boundaries is part of everyday life and of #leadership in particular. It requires stepping up and owning your authority.

It’s so much easier to go with the flow. To figure out everyone’s expectations and then fulfill them. The path of least resistance. But at what cost?

The project manager who cannot plan and feels inadequate as a consequence. The CFO who just disappointed a group of his best employees who lost faith in his abilities as a consequence. The friend who tried to satisfy their own needs with best intentions who might have damaged their own relationship with the two others as a consequence.

Life is about doing what is true for you. And when we strive for universal approval, we are doomed before we started. It’s a hard lesson, especially when we are people-oriented. We need to learn to step up to our own truth, to hold our ground, to set boundaries, and to live with the risk of disappointing others.

On the flip side, we earn respect. Within ourselves, and from others. Sometimes even from those whom we initially disappointed.

What is your experience with making tough decisions and setting boundaries?

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