Like or loathe

Zigong asked: “If a man is liked by all the people in his village, what would you think?” Confucius said: “That’s not good enough.” “And if he is loathed by all the people in the village, what would you think?” “That is not good enough either. It would be better if the good people in the village liked him and the bad people loathed him.”

Leadership is not a popularity contest. You can’t please all the people all the time – and neither should you even try to. Instead you should focus on making the right decisions that best serve the interests of the people you are leading.

The “good” ones will instinctively understand what you are doing and hence “like” or at least respect you, even if they don’t necessarily agree with every particular decision you make. As for the “bad” ones, the more they “loathe” you for the actions you take, the more they demonstrate that you are on the right track.

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