#8 Rap Lyric That Shaped My Leadership Style

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

Tupac Shakur kicked off our countdown at #25 and he’s back in the Top 10 with his hit song Keep Ya Head Up off his 1993 album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.  This song is great and includes a sample from the song Zapp and Roger’s “Be Alright”, which gives it a classic R&B feel – 2Pac was great at doing this in his songs.   The Lyric:

“Forgive but don’t forget”

This is really one of the quintessential elements of leadership – being able to forgive and move on.  To often I’ve been around managers who are unwilling to forgive, or unable to move on past an issue – and ultimately it hurts how they are viewed as a leader.   Also, I see people who believe that when you forgive someone, that you should also forget what they did – that’s just naive.   Like Chris Rock said – when McDonalds hires a former crackhead, they don’t allow them by the happy meals! (well he almost said that)

The one thing in business that is a certain, is that everyone is going to make mistakes – it happens all the time.  So, as a leader, your ability to forgive and move is paramount to the success of your business.  But you must also have the ability to not forget and put yourself in the same situation over and over.  I believe in second chances – but not third and fourth chances.  Once you screw it up twice, you’ve just established a pattern – if I, as the leader, allow that to happen a third time – I’m just a bad leader.

As a leader you must also be able to move on and not hold someone’s mistake against them.  If you can’t, do them a favor and let them go – it does them no good to work under your inability to move past a mistake – you’re just holding them and your company back.  Give them a gift and let them go blossom somewhere else.  I can’t tell you how many employee calibrations I’ve been in with leadership when a manager will bring up something one of their employees did 3 years ago, but they’ve been great ever since – but they are unwilling to let it go and allow them to rise above it.  You’re not protecting the company, you’re establishing a culture where your employees understand every mistake they make will be held over their heads for eternity.


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