Sometimes I think about Stephen Covey's principal of living life with the end in mind. Covey asks in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People what would you want people to say about you at your funeral? The comical side to this question is that accepting a leadership role means that not everyone is going to weep until their eyes fall out and role under your casket.
I am sitting in a public place and I saw a woman walk by who just hates my guts. We used to go to the same church. She stopped acknowledging my presence after a little incident. For years we would walk past each other at church and she would act like I wasn't there. I was 24 years old when the incident happened and it didn't even happen between the two of us. I was asked to accept a leadership role and she thought I wasn't capable. I ended up in the role and I am still the bad guy. Now, I'm 33 and she just went by me, once again, making sure I saw her but she didn't acknowledge me. It's her way to say, "Zing!" Every time she punks me she must hear,
Long story short, there are some people who hate me. There are a couple of people that have a large amount of destain towards me. I'm sure if my name comes up in a conversation they have some choice words about me. Why do they hate me? Almost all of the people that I can think of that don't like me, I led at one point in time. Most of these folks are justified. I started leading an organization and teams at a very young age. I made really immature decisions, I think I still do. However, the longer I lead I promise less, I do less, and I fix less issues.
You're thinking, "This guy writes a leadership blog?"
People are grown up kids and so am I. This means education never stops, if someone stops learning than they might as well go ahead and bury themselves. So, I'm still very much learning. Leadership is as defined in the process as it is in the result. I'm really comfortable with people hating me over a result they didn't get. I'm not looking for anyone to stand up at my funeral and say, "That Brad, he sure got people to do things that they didn't want to do." This would mean I'm being buried as a manipulator and not a leader. I guess I'm trying to say that Grace, in leadership and life, is not a destination but it is an action. As Puffy and Mase said, "You can hate me now," but if I was leading to receive grace from the people that didn't like me I would have made the team do what was required to get the result that the haters wanted. At some point you have to become comfortable with the thought that being in a leadership role is simply an act of grace because you, nor I, am complete. So people are going to hate my imperfections because I hate them too.
How do you deal with the haters of your leadership?