Doing what’s right

Have you ever decided to do something that may not be what others want of you, but you felt had to be done? This is something leaders and managers face far more often than any would like to admit.

A movie I only heard about a few weeks ago came out this weekend that I want to see about Abraham Lincoln and although it will probably have some Hollywood theatrics and writer’s liberty involved, should be more documentary. In light of the recent media attention to an extramarital affair by General David Petraeus that was covered in a values blog post this week, I thought it prudent to write about something we should give thanks for-leaders that do what’s right, even in the face of great opposition.

There are few people I look up to in life that are historical or public figures, but Lincoln is one of them. The Civil War may not have been fought for slavery or equal rights at the outset, though certainly a part of it, but Lincoln turned the war in that direction by war’s end and some have said that he was assassinated because he proposed voting rights for African Americans after the war was over. There was a percentage of the nation’s populace that supported such things, but not a majority, and thus we find the great opposition to Lincoln’s ideas.

Lincoln was killed for his stance, but he took it regardless of popular belief and against the recommendations of advisers. As we lead others, we have to remember that our beliefs for what must be done will not always coincide with those of higher management or even those of some of our subordinates. We certainly can find ourselves out of work by taking a stance against others’ plans, but if it works out, we will probably be better off for the effort, regardless of outcome. We will either be praised or told to find a new job and if it is the latter, then perhaps we are better for finding another organization that fits us better anyhow. Being a leader is not easy, but we must do what’s right in our mind or else we have no right to be in charge of others.

I challenge you to leave comments about experiences you have hard regarding this topic and how you handled it. What we have all dealt with is not completely unique and can help others as they face similar circumstances!


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