While watching last night’s episode of Michael Jordan and the Bulls’ documentary ‘The Last Dance’, I learned a lot about Michael Jordan, but also about myself.
One of the things that have been rumored about Michael Jordan and was essentially confirmed last night was that Michael Jordan wasn’t a nice teammate or leader. In fact, he was kind of an asshole. He clowned his fellow team members, verbally derided them, and even got into physical altercations with a few of them.
From the way he endlessly flamed Scott Burrell, to the time he punched Steve Kerr, and how he pushed Scottie Pippen, there are endless examples. But one thing all of his teammates said was, they needed that. They needed that energy and that push to help them get to the next level. To his level.
Michael said that the reason he did this is because he needed them to get where he was mentally because he didn’t just want to win for himself, he wanted his teammates to win alongside him and experience the feeling of what it means to be a champion. Together.
Now, I wouldn’t advise you completely deride your team members or get into physical altercations with them, but there’s a very valuable lesson in there.
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in life and in business is being too nice. I’ve made people business partners trying to be nice. I’ve had projects be stalled from being too nice. Lost money by being nice. Had people I was incredibly nice to later turn on me and throw dirt on my name after being nothing but “nice” to them.
My problem was that I was confusing being a nice person with being a good person and the two are not the same. Sometimes you have to be an asshole so that people know where the line is with you. It’s sad but, many people almost need you to put your foot down and be firm with them just so they can do the right thing and be who they’re supposed to be.
It’s important to be a good person, but being “nice” can cost you everything.
Stop being nice, but keep being great, lead by example, and inspire those around you to be great as well.
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