Rock Your Impact Series - Be Willing to be the "Jerk"

Photo by Ms. Sue Huan

Photo by Ms. Sue Huan

Welcome back to the Rock Your Impact blog series where we are taking on five steps to have more impact as a leader. If you missed the first step in the series, check out Know Your Impact. The second step was outing your fear words. Now, on to the third step in having an impact - being willing to not make everyone happy. 

The first point I want to make crystal turquoise water clear, is that this is not about intentionally being a jerk. This isn't even about actually being a jerk. This is about not trying to make everyone happy or being liked by everyone.

The thing about owning your leadership and vision is that you are going to make choices that not everyone agrees with. You have a vision that not everyone will be able to see. Not everyone will understand the impact you want to have and the decisions necessary to honor that impact.

People come to the table with their own perceptions. Their own judgements. Their own viewpoint on how things should go. If we try to account for everyone our impact gets diluted. If we let our fear of not being liked trump our commitment to the vision, we risk letting our own fears divert us from the difference we actually want to make. 

I'd love to be adored by everyone. I'd love to never receive a critical email that had me question myself. I'd love to never worry that the decision I am making towards the vision could be perceived as negative by someone else. I'd love to never have another difficult conversation. As a leader and someone with a vision for the world though, I'm more committed to having leaders around the world using their powers for good and bringing their visions to life than I am to being comfortable and liked all of the time.

Being a leader committed to something bigger than yourself will likely come with critics. Think of your favorite leader or role model. They have critics and people who think they are a "jerk".

You too will have raving fans and ruckus-making critics. So what is a leader to do?

Curl up in a ball and weep. Just kidding! 

Know your impact. Be clear on your vision. Have what you are committed to in this world plastered all over the place so you and your teams are present to it. Then when you make a decision - really assess if that decision is aligned with your impact, vision, and commitments. When your heart, mind, and soul can say "Yes, X decision is totally aligned!" the critic's noise that cuts you deep at first will subside faster when you realize you are up to something much bigger than yourself.

In case you haven't heard it recently - thank you. Thank you for being a leader. Thank you for walking a path that is not always comfortable. Thank you for seeing that who you are matters and what you do makes a difference.