Mutiny Sooner

A wonderful reminder today:

You will not be able to please everyone in your company and you can’t try to do that. You must be true to yourself, you must be authentic. You can’t pander.

via Fred Wilson

But… you can try, if you want (it’s unlikely to create the results that you’re actually looking for).

One of the most poignant leadership moments for me was when I worked at Dell, Inc. as an enterprise engineer and my first manager was, for all intents and purposes, pretty decent. She was a solid communicator and she empathized with her staff.

And, magically, she made almost everyone happy, all the time. In a way, it was magical… except that it wasn’t. Even though the entire team would leave our daily staff meetings feeling pretty good about our progress against the team’s goals but by lunch time nothing had actually changed.

She was, everyone privately agreed, ineffective, because the one thing that we couldn’t ever get from her was a real decision. It was in one of our staff meetings when our of our Senior Content Editors finally lost his shit.

What he said was an absolute gift because it was what everyone was thinking but no one had the courage to say. In her attempt to make everyone happy she had lost the only leverage she really had: No one trusted her to ever get off her proverbial fence.

In time, she moved on because you can only be that ineffective for so long before the troops mutiny. Unfortunately, we should have mutinied sooner.