The Measure of A Leader



Many years ago when I was a young assistant manager of a food chain in downtown Boston, I worked with an eclectic and diverse staff.  I was thrilled to be around people from so many countries – Brazil, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico. I learned so much early on about the cultures of other people and their thinking – it really helped me in my formidable leadership trajectory.

But the most important lesson I learned was from a 15 year old boy from Massachusetts named Ray. Ray was a typical city kid, whose  father tried to teach him many things as a young man. Ray was not a model teenager, but his father’s influence seemed to stay his hand and keep him motivated.

One day Ray was having a stellar day at work, and one of his co-workers balked at doing a job they had been asked to do. When the staff member asked why he needed to do the task, Ray said,

“You know, my father always told me, ‘The measure of a man or woman is not how well they do what they like, but how well they do what they don’t like.'”

Those words burned into me that day. What a statement! It brought both conviction and motivation all in the same breath.

Leadership is not an easy path. Sometimes we struggle to do what’s right. The best way is not always the easiest.

We often get pushed into unpleasant situations, tough calls we wish we didn’t have to make. Principles that need to be upheld, despite our desire to take the easy way out.

The measure of a leader is not how well you do what you like, but how well you do what you don’t like.


(image courtesy of

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on May.6.2014, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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