The adjectives are not mutually exclusive, and you can be a Favorite without being the Best. As a new leader, you will be challenged with a myriad of questions – one of them being, do you want to be the Favorite or the Best?
Who doesn’t want to be the Favorite? But do you have the grit and courage to be the Best?
The Favorite lavishes praise like candy. The Favorite is popular. But the team will be malnourished and weak. The Best lavishes praise and coaching. The Best will be unpopular at times. But the team will be healthy and strong.
“Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.” —General Colin Powell
According to him, good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of each and every individual you have the privilege to lead, which means that some people will get angry with your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable if you’re honorable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid stretching people to their highest potential, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset. Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by trying not to get anyone angry, and by treating everyone equally “nicely” regardless of their contributions, you’ll simply ensure that the only people you’ll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization. You will do your Best a disservice.
Be respectful. Be kind. But have the courage to lead, not for your sake, but for every member of your team. It’s simply the right thing to do.