Whenever I converse with leaders or anyone with decision-making capabilities, a single guiding principle resonates: Choose the best for the majority. This notion is more than just a decision-making framework; it’s the essence of true leadership. Listen to the complete podcast episode here.

Making a choice that benefits the majority demands two virtues often absent in mediocre leaders: vulnerability and compassion. Compassion nudges us to fathom the ripple effects of our decisions. Vulnerability, on the other hand, arises when we realize that the best choice for the many may not align with our personal interests.

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In theory, the concept sounds almost clichéd, right? But in practice, this principle acknowledges an inherent truth: decisions won’t please everyone. Every difficult choice I’ve made as a leader has had its share of detractors. There’s always someone who feels shortchanged. But that’s the nature of leadership; it’s about achieving the greater good, not universal approval. As I often say, a win-tie scenario is a day well-lived.

A true Leaders share his thought of detractors

Such decisions demand a selflessness that contradicts our intrinsic nature.

Such decisions demand a selflessness that contradicts our intrinsic nature. By default, we prioritize our welfare, sometimes leaving someone worse off because of that decision. This might suffice for individual decisions. But leadership transcends personal boundaries. It’s a game of “we” rather than “me.” This evolution of thought transforms leaders into figures of influence, trust, and respect.

I recall a poignant instance of prioritizing the majority over my convenience. An employee, though exceptionally proficient, was a poor cultural fit. Retaining them meant smoother operations for me, but potentially a toxic atmosphere for the team. The decision was crystal clear: the employee had to go. It was a win for the team but a tie for me.

Another vivid memory, that I share in a recent podcast episode, involves shuttering a media platform the team had worked hard to build. Sure, the decision was a blow to some passionate team members and led to reduced revenue. Yet, it was crucial. The content lacked the vigor I sought, and it was not sustainable in the long term. Leaders should exude enthusiasm in their endeavors, and this move, despite being challenging, epitomized the principle of benefiting the majority.

True leadership win-tie scenario is a day well-lived.

It’s a game of “we” rather than “me.”

Lastly, a tale that resonates with countless small business owners is the act of withholding their paycheck during tough times. During crises like the pandemic, I’ve witnessed several forgoing their salaries to ensure their teams remained financially secure. A personal sacrifice for the collective good.

In essence, leadership isn’t about securing wins for oneself. It’s about safeguarding the interests of the many, even if it demands personal sacrifices. So, aspiring leaders, opt for the path that benefits the majority the next time you’re at the decision-making crossroads. It might be arduous, but it’s the hallmark of genuine leadership.