This bite tells you not to please everyone. Please don’t. One of the major banes and blights in Leadership development is trying to please everyone around you. Don’t. You are not the Savior and so do not act like one. Don’t think everyone likes you and not everyone takes you serious. Eighty-five percent don’t really care and the fifteen percent are somewhat glad that you find yourself in a certain situation. Be strong and keep a cool head. Own your issues and fix them. Try not to please everyone.

“Pleasing everyone won’t work. Not pleasing anyone won’t also work. Find the balance”

Pleasing everyone kills good decisions and Leaders must make decisions. You are not promised a safe journey on your road to Leadership Development. What I know for sure is that you need to work out your safe arrival. The road shall be bumpy, rough and unpleasant. If you try to please people around you, the journey shall be extremely longer and demanding, with no learning curves. Learn not to stop to listen to every ballad on your way to a live concert. There is a beautiful story I always share with teams about learning not to please everyone and pleasing people and bearing the brunt of it. This story has kept some of us throughout the years through this tough journey. It is a familiar ancient story.

So an eighty year old man goes out with his eight year old grandson and a donkey. Grandpa sat the boy on the donkey whilst he walks by their side. A group of people stopped them and asked, how can a little boy be that disrespectful to old age; to be sitting on a donkey watching his eighty year old grandfather walking in the sun sweating all over? What has society and modernization done to this generation? As a matter of questioning, who actually raised this kid?

Grandpa heard this, and to protect his grandson from further torrential assaults he asked him to swap positions so that the eight year old can walk and he rather sat on the donkey, just to please people. Some five minutes stroll down the road, another batch of people came walking by and they said amongst themselves whilst giggling: how can this old grandfather be that wicked? He is watching this little boy walk in this hot sun whilst he enjoys sitting on a donkey. This is sheer wickedness and selfishness. At least he could have sat on the donkey with this light-weight grandson together. Can’t he just do this for Christ sake?

Hearing this, Grandpa Phil felt sad and was confused as well, asking himself; what then should I do? He said to himself, the guys could be right. After all, I am ten times older than my grandson and I cannot be that wicked. At last, he sat on the donkey with his grandson, which appeared perfect in his eyes. Now we have pleased everyone; he said to his grandson. Riding on the donkey for the next ten minutes, they met another group of people as they walk on the same alley. They laughed helplessly pointing fingers and chanting at grandpa Phil and his grandson. How can an old man and his grandson jump on a poor little donkey this way? Do they want to kill the donkey? Just look at the dancing wobbling warbling helpless legs of the donkey. And how can human beings be so cruel to animals? Someday, animals will talk and we shall see how forbidden this act is.

Grandpa could only take a sigh. He decided not to react but to stick to his plan. Unfortunately, on a second thought, he inclined to believe that, what the mob chanted could be very true. This is because the animal was just an animal and the fact that the donkey couldn’t talk back does not mean that it wasn’t going through pain. Two minutes ride on the donkey, Granddad Phil, asked his grandson to jump off because they are being cruel to the donkey. The eight year old boy tried to find out why granddad keeps shifting the post and suggesting such reactive positions. Grandpa, felt gloomy and wretched and therefore decided to end their trip. He said to the grandson, let’s go back home. Everybody is wiser than us.

On their way back, three men walked by and called grandpa and asked why he appears so gloomy, wretched and as if the whole world was about to end. What they actually sought to understand was why Grandpa and grandson have to be walking alongside a donkey. The three wise men sighed. Granddad Phil, narrated his ordeal to the supposedly three wise men and confided in them by asking; so what should I do now?

The ‘three wise men’ then analyzed the situation and said. Donkeys are to carry human beings. But if you felt cruel by being carried by the donkey, the best thing to do is to carry the donkey home. Are these the three wise men, Grandpa? Grandson asked. Yes I suppose, Grandpa’s response. After all, all options have been exhausted. He sat on the donkey and watched his grandson walk. He walked and watched his grandson sat on the donkey. He sat on the donkey with the grandson and also walked alongside the donkey with the grandson. The final thing to do is for him to carry the donkey home as advised by the three wise men.

Leaning towards permutation, Grandpa Phil saw this as a brilliant idea, especially, coming from the self-styled three wise men. They carried the donkey for thirty minutes to get home. An eighty year old man and an eight year old boy, carrying a donkey over a thirty minutes stretch, your guess is as good as mine. This is what you get when you tend to please everyone. You get tired for nothing and expect nothing ‘sensible’ in return. You can’t please all. Listening to everyone won’t solve the problem. Listening to some selected, is key. Get a mentor. Get a proper coach. Listen to key advice. Stand to be corrected. Share for direction. Too many ideas won’t make it for you. Sticking to the original plan and working it out by pruning the edges are sure ways to go. With patience and determination, the journey to leadership development is an unfailing possibility.

Pleasing everyone won’t work. Not pleasing anyone won’t also work. Find the balance. People pretend. Jealousy lives next door and very close as real. As hinted in the previous bites, just know your circle. Don’t please all. At the end of the day, real situations expose phony colleagues. Just pay attention. When you want to see from afar, get close to real matters. Stay true to yourself and keep your agenda on track. Know that you cannot always budge. Stay well and learn that you can only win some on the journey to leadership development. Please everyone at your own peril.

For this is Leadership!

Author: Richard Kwarteng Ahenkorah

Principal Trainer, Eagle Knowledge Institute || Author: Your Journey To The Top

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