Why Every Leader Can’t Always Be the Good Guy

As leaders, we often face situations that require us to make decisions that won’t be popular with everyone. It’s a challenging part of the job but also an essential one. The key is to focus on whether the decision is good or bad and ensure it’s fair and explainable. Because if you can’t stand behind your decision, that’s a big red flag.

Not Every Decision Will Be Popular

Problems aren’t going to solve themselves—a leader must get aggressive and take action to solve them and implement a solution. Being too passive and waiting for a solution to appear often enables a problem to escalate and get out of control.

Jocko Willink

It’s impossible to please everyone all the time. As a leader, you’ll have to make decisions that some team members may not agree with. And that’s okay. Making decisions based on what’s best for the team and the organization, your role is not to be liked by everyone but to lead effectively and make tough calls when necessary.

Explainability: The Key to Trust

When you make a decision, especially a tough one, explaining your reasoning is essential. Transparency fosters trust and understanding, even if the decision isn’t popular. By explaining why you made a particular decision and how it aligns with the team’s goals or the organization’s values, you give your team members a chance to see things from your perspective. They may disagree with the decision, but they’ll understand why you made it, which can help maintain respect and trust.

Leading with Integrity

Culture only works if the leader visibly participates in and vocally champions it.

Ben Horowitz

Next time you’re faced with a tough decision, remember: it’s not about being liked; it’s about leading with integrity, fairness, and transparency. And if you can’t stand behind your decision, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and reassess.