Good Leaders Aren’t Always Popular

Often people in leadership find it difficult to lead in ways that others might disagree with.  They find it much easier to deliver smooth agendas and statements that won’t “rock the boat.”   This happens time and time again because many leaders want to maintain a certain level of popularity with the people.  However, this course of action couldn’t be farther from ideal.

Good leadership begins with putting the needs of those you lead above any desire you may have to be liked by anyone.  The individual who understands true leadership will say and do things that might cost them their popularity because their desire to promote the overall good trumps their desire for accolades from others.

Yet unfortunately many leaders have it backwards.  They seek to preserve their own interest by pleasing the people instead of taking the harder road which inevitably could make them unpopular for a time.  This is why it’s easy to find pastors or other thought leaders who simply focus on the great and grand desires we have in life making no mention of the difficult changes and sacrifices we must make in our own lives to truly be happy.

While many of earth’s greatest leaders were popular there are many who weren’t so popular.  A most extreme example of this can be found by examining the life of the ancient biblical prophet Jeremiah.  Jeremiah lived in a time when the prophets or leaders of his time were engaged in telling the people what they wanted to hear.  They delivered messages that made the people feel good but undeniably would lead to their destruction.  This was not the case with Jeremiah.

Jeremiah knew that the message the people desperately needed to hear was one that could cost him his popularity, his freedom, and even his life.  He himself didn’t particularly like the messages he was given from the Lord to share with the people but he recognized how important it was that he share them.  The people had to know the truth even if they didn’t like it.  This would cost him his favor with the people but it was for their own good.

Unlike the majority of leaders of his time, Jeremiah chose to lead with integrity.  He found it more important to put the best interest of the people before the ease he would receive by speaking otherwise.  Jeremiah placed principle before popularity and although this course of action cost him his popularity with the people it made him an exceptional leader nonetheless.  It’s just unfortunate that it was too late before the people realized they should have followed Jeremiah’s leadership.

So as you can see, good leaders will not always be popular.  Now ask yourself this question, what type of leader are you?  Are you one who is willing to sacrifice the well being of the ones you lead in exchange for your own comfort?  Do you prefer to take the easy route in hopes of gaining favor with others or do you lead based upon solid principles?

Share:  What has your experience been with leading others?  Have you found that the leadership that is needed is often not what the people want?  Share your thoughts on this post and remember to subscribe!

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