Colin Powell’s Leadership Lessons & Joel Dant’s Beef Tongue Tacos

My colleague extraordinaire, Joel Dant, recently shared Colin Powell’s Leadership Lessons with our team. Joel is a well-respected leader in the HR field, building his pedigree at companies such as Ford Motor Company, United Airlines and Alliant Energy. Joel said he keeps this presentation handy to share with managers and leaders for inspiration and a reminder of what it means to be a leader. Each slide can also be framed, highlighting a certain aspect of leadership – along with a quote – that might be most relevant to a situation you may be experiencing. Here’s one of my favorites:

Lesson #1: Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.

“Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at 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 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 mad, 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.”

Joel, thanks for sharing this. You’ve redeemed yourself now since you made me eat beef tongue tacos – yuk! Everyone else – enjoy.

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Sandra Schwan

Sandra Schwan

Managing Partner at Evolving Strategies LLC
Sandra is the Managing Partner of Evolving Strategies LLC, a consulting firm helping companies and people learn, adapt and perform. Sandra holds a Master of Science degree in Adult Learning and Strategic Organizational Change from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Arkansas. Previous employers include the Corporate Executive Board, Lante Corporation, Kensington International, and Accenture where Sandra was awarded mentor of the year.

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