The truth: Leaders shouldn’t strive to be popular. Legends became legends by sacrificing popularity for the sake of doing what was right.
Who was the most unpopular President of all-time? Gallup might list several modern Presidents, but what about Abraham Lincoln? How many other Presidents saw half the country secede from the Union?
Martin Luther King Jr. was also not very popular when he was assassinated in 1968. In fact, according to a Harris poll, 75% of Americans disapproved of MLK in 1968.
Yet, how many leaders would list either Lincoln or MLK as leaders they would like to emulate?
The truth is we will never emulate them seeking popularity.
Leadership always challenges status-quo, and always initiates positive change.
The reality is that these things are never popular.
The reality is that resistance always follows.
Lincoln saw emancipation as non-negotiable.
MLK envisioned “the city upon the hill,” where children of all races played together.
Neither were willing to compromise.
Neither gave in to the resistance.
Both were assassinated because of it.
And both are legends today because of the change they initiated.
Leadership has never been a popularity contest.