The cost of leadership

In the recent ESPN documentary of Michael Jordan’s last year as a Bull, there’s an incredible quote that I’ve watched almost every day since I’ve seen it.

Michael was asked, “Has it [your success] come at the expense of you being perceived as a nice guy?”

You should watch the video all the way to the end and see what you think of his answer.

Watching the documentary reminded me of two things:

  1. Michael Jordan had extraordinary talents with a basketball. He did things that I’ve never seen another human being do.
  2. Michael’s competitive drive, leadership, and will to win, enabled that natural talent to result in 6 NBA championships.

How is this about ME?

You are running your business because you have some natural ability — but in order for that natural ability to produce the results you are dreaming of — you need a team. You are going to have to “…pull people along when they didn’t want to be pulled, and challenge people when they didn’t want to be challenged…” There’s a cost to that!

Now, look at the faces of the other players on that team as they celebrate winning. They are all together in that win. They’re all celebrating what the team did together. They are happy to be there and all that pushing and pulling is forgotten.

But without that “tyrant,” without MJ’s drive, nobody wins.

Finding the balance

Every leader’s job is to balance those two things. You need the pulling, and challenging, and the winning. How do we keep our team moving toward the goal without losing people, without alienating people?

Where are you pushing and pulling in a way that other people might perceive as harsh or call you a tyrant? Is it leading to winning or is the team falling apart?

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