One of the mistakes people do while managing others is fall into the trap of trying to be nice and please every body. This is the biggest mistake a Manager does and he should be trained not to become a victim leading to his own downfall.

I remember a narrative given by a senior technical sales advisor when I was in a manufacturing industry and was doing quite well in my performance and technical achievements. On one major contract to a company in Middle East, we were biding against intense US competition and we knew we had no chance of getting it. Still we tried and there were many senior staff wanted the proposals to include their area of interest highlighted. I was trying to please them, bowing to their experience. It was at that time this narrative was told to me.

An old lady saw a young executive in a large corporate company and told him she knew the recipe for success. The executive, say, Tom, was really flying high and was envy of all staff. His power and glory for that young age had been the envy of all staff and seniors. He was very confident – in fact, over confident - and told the lady he had all the ways on how to be successful and thanked her for her suggestion and left her.

About 10 years later Tom saw the old woman again. He went to her and told her that he had fallen down from his height of glory and he had been looking for her and searching high and low. He said he was glad he met her and requested her to tell him the recipe for success. Tom told her that he had been struggling for several years.

The old lady said with all sadness, ‘Young man, I am getting too old and have memory loss. I do not remember what is the recipe for success. But I only remember the recipe for failures and I can tell you that if you are prepared to listen?’ Tom was disappointed and said, ‘please tell me that so that I do not have further failures”. The old lady said, ‘The recipe for failures is trying to please everybody’. She left after that.

This sanguine lesson has to be followed by every manager. I remember that we did not get the Middle East contract and lost to a US company. Even though the writing was on the wall, others and I ignored it and felt we would be different and write a different story and a successful one too. I failed but learnt a crucial and salutary lesson.

Don’t worry about pleasing everyone.

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” - LaoTzu

Pleasing everyone is a waste of time; people get manipulated; people may get mad or angry or disappointed. By not pleasing everyone one strangely becomes stronger; self-confidence will soar; more time and energy for one’s goals; one is less stressed; one has healthier relationships and increased will power. These are the good fall out for that strategy and must be always adhered to by any manager who wants to succeed. Golf club management may be acceptable in social groups but for hard commercial and competitive world, a manager may have to be loner at all times.