While talking with a colleague recently, the name of a mutual acquaintance came up. The person said she admired the acquaintance but that others had mixed feelings about the person. My colleague then said, “You either love her or you hate her.” This statement sparked an interesting conversation about leadership.
Our acquaintance is a high-level administrator within a prominent organization. I know the person pretty well, including her strengths and weaknesses. When I asked why someone might hate our acquaintance, my colleague could not provide legitimate reasons.
I then asked a series of questions.
- Is she unethical?
- Is she involved in a sex scandal?
- Does she shortchange the organization?
- Is she lazy?
- Is she incompetent?
- Is she embezzling money?
- Does she mistreat people?
- Is she insensitive?
To each question, my colleague’s answer was “No.”
I followed up with these questions:
- Does she hold people accountable?
- Will she terminate incompetent people?
- Does she put the needs of her stakeholders before her own needs?
- Is she intelligent?
- Is she courageous?
- Does she do what’s right instead of what’s popular?
In response to these questions, my colleague answered “Yes.”
My conclusion: “Where I come from, this person would be considered a great leader. Therefore, I cannot imagine why anyone would hate her.”
Do you agree with my conclusion? Why would anyone hate someone who is a good leader?