management: 2 min read

leadership is not a popularity contest

“I need to be popular with my team if I have to be recognized as a good leader”. Agree? I hope not.

One of the very common pitfalls and misunderstanding for the budding leaders is this. They feel that one needs to be popular with the team and hence always say “yes” to the team and do what they want.


Team member – I want one day off

Manager (Budding leader) – Take two


Team member – I am not able to finish the work as planned. Need another few more days.

Manager – Sure. No problem. Take your time. Wanna join for lunch?


Team member – I need a promotion and a hike

Manager – Sure, I will talk to HR and fight for it


Team member – I need a change in role

Manager – When and what role? Will make it work


So what happened to the budding leader? She became famous with the team. What happened to the team? It became inefficient without proper guidance and direction.

What ‘actually’ happened to the budding leader? The person has been fooling herself thinking that she is doing a world of good by taking care of the team’s needs. She is creating wrong example of a leader and not helping the team to grow in the right direction. The team is not being pushed to experience the extremes and work up to their potential.

Leadership is not about winning a popularity contest. Remember all leaders become popular, but all popular people do not become leaders.

Next time when you are in such situations, do think if you are saying “yes” to become popular or is it genuinely helping the larger team.