#17 Rap Lyric That Shaped My Leadership Style

For the background of this list – see my original post from 2-10-12.

The #17 Rap Lyric That Shaped My Leadership Style comes from the Notorius B.I.G. (Biggie) in the song You’re Nobody from his 1997 album Life after Death, which was released 15 days after he was killed in a drive by shooting.  Talk about living your music!  They Lyric:

“You’re nobody til somebody kills you.”

I don’t take this literally, although Biggie did, to me this was figuratively meant to say – you need to be prepared that you’re going to have haters and you don’t need to take this negatively – it means you’ve made it.   Every organization – yes, every one – has politics.  Usually the larger they are, the more politics are involved.  But one thing you can count on – if you’re trying to make change in an organization, especially within HR, you’re going to have some folks wanting to “kill” you!

A leader needs to assume this, not be surprised by it, and actually embrace it.  It’s alright that someone in your organization wants to “kill” you, it means you’re digging into the right stuff!  People always assume that the opposite of “Love” is “Hate” – but that’s not true.  The opposite of “Love” is “Apathy”, it’s not caring enough to even give that person another thought.  Only when you truly love someone, can you hate them – hate comes from being irritated and you only get irritated when you care about something.

When I know someone in my organization “hates” me and wants to “kill” me – I know they care – I like that person!   I want people around me who care – that feel passionate about what they do – so much so – that they will try to politically “kill” me!  Most people aren’t comfortable under those circumstances – but I am – because I have that belief, that you’re nobody until somebody wants to kill you.   Organizations get better through change, change is hard, change is painful, change will make people want to “kill” you – but change makes us better.  As a leader you need to be comfortable with a target on your back – buy helmet and bullet proof vest and make change happen!


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