Forget about what the best-selling books say. There is only one way to determine whether you are a good leader: Ask yourself, “Do I get good people to work hard for me?” If the answer is “yes,” you are a good leader. It doesn’t matter if the way you do so is by kind words, cruel threats, constant meetings, or benign neglect.
And here’s a good way to find out if you are a bad leader: Ask yourself, “Have good people quit working for me?” I’m not talking about someone else’s idea of good. I mean people you thought were good. I’m all in favor of treating people well. And I believe that you can’t keep good people unless you do. But treating people well means doing what you think is best for them. And for some people in some situations that means being tough.
So forget about all the crap you read that advises all the soft stuff. Do what you have to do to make your best people work harder than they’ve ever worked for anyone else — and try to never do anything that will make them quit and go elsewhere.[Ed. Note. Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]