That was the advice from Da Mayor in Spike Lee’s classic movie. Variations are given thousands of times by parents, teachers, coaches, and clergy every day. In some ways, it is the simplest way to guide your moral compass. So why is it so hard to do in business?
There are plenty of reasons- stress, not enough information to make a sound decision, personal aspiration, greed, fear- to not do the right thing. But to be a leader, you need to follow Da Mayor’s advice in your decision making every time.
To always do the right thing, you must have the following leadership attributes:
- Conviction- if you do not totally believe in your decision, you are opening yourself up for failure. You must have total personal buy in that your decisions are right- even if the results end up being bad.
- Fairness- to do the right thing, you must treat your team and your situations in a just manner. Perform neutral reviews and remove any prejudice from your decisions. That will ensure fairness. Also remember that fairness is not equality. Everyone does not need to be treated the same, but they do need to be judged the same.
- Confidence- to always try to live your life by doing the right thing takes great personal faith in yourself. You need to be able to handle the results of your actions- both positive and negative- and know that you made the decision for the right reasons. You need to look yourself in the mirror everyday so make sure your decisions are guilt free.
Wavering while making tough decisions is a sign that you may be lacking these traits. To be an “elder” in your office community, you need to make decisions based on what you believe is right and accept its consequences. That is one of the best lessons to learn as your grow up in your leadership roles.