You can please all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time…But you cannot please all of the people all of the time. ~Abraham Lincoln~

It is true, Giving is a wonderful thing. On the tails of the holiday season I’m sure that many of us just experienced the joy of giving as we shared with our love ones.

AND…I know that deep down we all (ok, maybe not all) want to have our own Gates Foundation and donate 99% of our wealth. I mean who can’t live on only 2 billion dollars?

Many notable business people are tremendous givers. In addition to Gates, Warren Buffett has also committed to donating the majority of his wealth.

This strikingly altruistic trend has a common theme however. Before these barons were able to make the tremendous donations they worked tirelessly to amass a ton of wealth. This was done by being incredibly innovative, and successful in their respective businesses.

While I don’t have the privilege of knowing either of these individuals personally, I have to imagine that in order for them to achieve this type of success at times they have had to be hard nosed, slightly callused executives who had to follow their gut and intuition even if it forced them to be a bit selfish.

When you are in a leadership role you will be surrounded by others around you who are vying for your ear. Chuck full of good intentions these folks aspire to help you grow your business and sometimes they aspire to convince you that they know more than you about how to do your job. (Take a seat and strap in) They will risk your money and time with little or no consequence.

Sometimes this supporting cast does have the ideas that will get you there. Other times they will take you down a path of broken dreams.

Bottom line, you are the leader, you must decide what is best and inspire the masses to follow. To do this you must realize that there is no way that you will keep all of the people happy all of the time. In fact, it is actually selfish to the many to be too selfless to the few.

On your journey to greatness, here are 4 keys to keeping balance in satisfying the masses while doing what is best for the organization.

  1. Open Door, Open Ears: Keep your door open and your ears more open. As a leader you will hear many great ideas. You must decide when to implement. Regardless, organizations where people feel they have a voice tend to have better morale. Even if you never use the ideas, listening to them will take you far.

  3. Over-Communicate: You cannot be too communicative. Organizations with strong top to bottom communication perform better than those without it. If you wonder if your message is clear, you can assume it probably isn’t

  5. Actions Express Priorities: A great Ghandi quote. People will decide if what you are saying adds up to what you are actually doing. Try to keep you actions closely in sync with your words.

  7. Decide: I like Seth Godin’s quote, “You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.” As a leader you must decide and be decisive. Organizations can be paralyzed by slow decisions and of course by poor ones. Nevertheless you have to trust yourself or ultimately no one else will.

The opportunity to become selfless comes after you have achieved greatness. For your charity to be substantial you must first realize it starts at home. This means you must lead courageously, listen carefully, and follow what got you here….