The Worst Leadership Advice I Ever Got

I vividly remember being called to my boss’ office just six months into my new managerial role for a feedback session. Please keep in mind as a new manager, this was a season of working day and night trying to prove to myself, colleagues and my boss that I was the best at building a high performing team culture!

With my pen and notebook in hand I went in to listen. My boss started the meeting by telling me that she had worked with many managers in my position and the ONE thing in common with all high performing managers is that  “… they are all hated by their colleagues and I have observed with concern that everyone here likes you, so this tells me that you are not doing your job”.  At this moment, my pen that was hovering over my notebook ready to jot down nuggets of wisdom had unconsciously slipped from my fingers.

Wow! My mind started racing with things like, wait, is she serious? Is it true? Should good managers be hated by everyone? I left her office confused and wondering whether I should be hurt or angry or happy about the feedback. Although I never wrote down the feedback, it stuck with me for a long time.

When I got back to my desk, the natural step was to sit and stare! As the blank screen of my computer stared back I began to think about my boss and how we all related to her. Hold on a minute, she had succeeded in making sure that everybody hated her, no one liked her for sure! How was that working for her? Things were not looking good! The office environment was tense, staff turnover was high, there were trust issues, people were working in silos and the list could go on! It was bad!

As far as my professional life is concerned, this was the worse leadership advice of all time! This was wrong! As I have grown over the years in my career, I haveobserved that , no one  will go a long with you if they cannot get along with you.  

If you cannot work well with people, then you cannot influence them.  If you can’t influence them, then you cannot lead them. It is that plain and simple.  

What I have enjoyed the most as a coach, is to put into the hands of leaders, tools to help them become those leaders who speak and everybody listens WITHOUT using force, manipulation, and or intimidation, WHILE getting amazing results from their teams almost effortlessly.


A few days ago I was talking with a colleague of mine. She told me a story of one of her coaching classes with middle sc

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AB-Leadership by Annet BAINGANA