August 30, 2009

Leadership Lessons From Hannah Montana

This afternoon I had the pleasure of watching the Hannah Montana Movie with my daughter...for like the 10th day in a row (she's actually watching an episode on the Disney Channel right now)! Oddly enough I actually learned something, even though I had tuned out most of the movie. Unless you've been living in another galaxy for the last couple of years, you know the basic premise of Hannah Montana: regular girl creates alter ego in order to be both a pop star & a normal teenage girl. On top of that she comes up with a killer disguise to keep people from discovering her identity: she wears a blonde wig! There hasn't been a disguise this clever since Superman put on those glasses & became Clark Kent.

Anyway, during the movie Miley gets herself into a mess in the area of the whole Hannah/Miley thing. Hannah has agreed to be at a dinner in her honor given by the mayor of a small town. Miley however has agreed to go on a date with the ultra-dreamy farmhand that works for her grandmother. Whatever will she do? Her dad, played by the mullet-free, Billy Ray Cyrus leaves it up to her. He says, "You do whatever you think is right." Miley decides that the right thing to do is to try to satisfy everyone. Guess how it ends up? That's right, rather than making everyone happy, both Hannah's & Miley's reputation suffer for it. Rather than satisfying everyone, she ends up hurting everyone.

Life & leadership are full of these kind of moments. We're left with a choice. Whether we choose A or B, It seems like someone is not going to be happy. So we try to opt for A & B. We fool ourselves into thinking that we can actually achieve the goal of making everyone happy, & for those of us in leadership who struggle with being a people pleaser, this really becomes a battle. However, we must decide. What is right?

There are decisions that we have to make in life & especially in leadership that aren't going to make people happy. Our decisions affect people, & sometimes they don't like the effects, but that doesn't mean that the decision was the wrong one. Even my 3 year old daughter made the comment, "She can't be Hannah & Miley." Neither can you. You can either be a leader or you can try to make everyone happy, but you can't be both.

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