Business leadership requires unpopular decisions

Published on 2023-09-04 by John Collins.

In business, to be a successful leader often requires unpopular decisions. Your job is to deliver value for the company and it's shareholders, not to be popular.

In politics, unpopular decisions end careers. To be a successful political leader, you need to be popular because you need to get reelected.

To summarize the key differences, business leaders are judged by the monetary value that they add to the bottom line of a company, while political leaders are judged by how popular they are every 4-5 years during an election campaign. They are not the same.

If businesses were run like democracies, they would largely fail, and when a business leader tries to be popular instead of doing what needs to be done, that is often to the detriment of the company that pays their salary.

There is a reason why successful CEOs rarely move into politics: it's an entirely different game with different definitions of what success looks like.