INSTANT MBA: If You Want To Lead, It's Going To Come With Controversy

Michelle Rhee

Today’s advice comes from Michelle Rhee, Founder and CEO of Students First, via LinkedIn:

“To be a leader, you can’t get caught up in emotion and in your opposition. You can’t get bogged down in every negative comment or fabricated controversy, or else you’ll start diverting resources from the things that truly count. You have to lead from the front, but getting derailed by naysayers could put you in a place of fighting from behind…to be a leader, you have to be OK with not being liked.”

In a speech to students at Stanford’s centre for Leadership Development and Research, Rhee says that company leaders often have to deal with negative comments and personal attacks, and when this happens, Rhee chooses to ignore the subjective criticism and focus on the facts instead.

Rhee says it is better to channel your energy toward things that actually matter. In order to do this, you must define your single goal and never stray from it.

“These [personal attacks] are nothing but distractions that will divert my attention from my goal if I let them … it’s a good lesson: If you want to truly lead, it’s going to come with controversy, so develop that tough skin now, get used to it, and keep your eye on the ball.”

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