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The Leadership Dilemma: The Easy Choice vs. The Right

by Lucas Lin


Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to choose between a ‘right way’ of getting things done and an ‘easy way’? It could be a choice between cutting corners and producing standard. It could be a choice between letting your subordinates or even yourself off with sub standard work, or striving for the best even if it means a big sacrifice. That’s right. I’m sure that for all leaders, experienced or not, we’d certainly have come across this, right? After all, the easy versus right dilemma is an everyday issue for a leader or manager, isn’t it?

This article of Leadership Lessons hence aims to help leaders explore how they can tackle this decision and make the wisest decision.

Many a time, we, as leaders, do our best to provide value-based leadership for our subordinates. However, despite our ‘hopes’ and ‘wishes’ to provide this moral leadership, us leaders often falter in the face of adversity. For instance, the mental fatigue of ceaselessly ensuring standards slowly corrodes into our willpower, draining whatever resistance we have left. The desire to make the popular decision when all our subordinates are for compromising standards slowly eat into our moral courage, depleting our sense of righteousness. At the breaking point, the easy way will seem to be the right way, and we’d be able to derive a plethora of justifications to support our decision.

As tempting or popular as this may be, let us not forget the consequences of forsaking the right way. First and foremost, we, as leaders, lead by example, whether we like it or not. As such, by showing the ‘wrong example’, our subordinates will only grow to either loose respect for us and give up on our leadership, or take advantage of our weakness for their benefits. Clearly, while an easy decision may ease their immediate frustration and perhaps, gain us some popularity, our failed leadership would result in more unhappiness for them and ourselves in the long run.

Secondly, making compromises for comfort’s sake would certainly do some damage to our intended goal. If it is to ensure standards or satisfy a quota in sales or quality for example, cutting corners would mean that we would possibly fall short. If the goal is less quantifiable, say to create a ‘go-all-out’ culture in your workplace, then clearly actions speak louder than words, and the easy decision speaks. Ultimately, this decision would not just mean that we failed ourselves, but also that we failed our superiors and shortchanged our subordinates for giving less than our best.

Having said this, how, then, can we avoid such a pitfall? One tested-and-proven strategy would be to always focus on our outcome. When our mind decides to wander down the path of the pseudo benefits of the easy way, remind ourselves of our mission and allow our mind to decide if a particular course of action would bring us closer or further away from our goal. It also helps to consider the identity which we wish to portray to others. Is it one of morals or weakness? This way, we keep in view the long term implications of a short term decision. Another method would be to refresh ourselves that making a decision that we’ll regret in the future not only affects us but would also disappoint our bosses and shortchange our subordinates, of whom may be giving their best for our sakes.

The next time you are put in a position to decide between the right and easy, which would you choose? So long as you keep the larger picture in mind, I’m sure that you’d make a wise decision, right?

About the Author

Lucas Lin is a renowned expert in the field of leadership and management. Having held leadership positions ranging from management executive to operations manager, Lucas is in the prime position to offer advice on leadership and consulting services to leaders across the hierarchy as he developed an intimate knowledge of value-based leadership.

Visit Lucas Lin for Timeless Leadership Lessons at

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