Karin’s Leadership Articles

Do The Right Thing Anyway

by | Jul 9, 2013 | Authenticity & Transparency, By Karin Hurt

“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

Leaders under pressure. I am. You are. We are. It’s easy to do the right thing when everyone agrees. Sometimes they won’t.
You know what’s right. But then, the counter view. Important folks could say you “lack political savvy” or worse yet, that you’re “not aligned,’ or not a “team player.” What if your boss takes you aside and outlines the stakes? You could chill down. Consider. If you still need to take a stand, you’ll feel pressure.

Not easy. Been there. Survived. Grown. Not easy again. Survived. Got there again. Prospered. Who knows, taking a stand may or may not work the next time.

One time I even walked into my boss’ office and said, “if this doesn’t work, I’ll resign in 6 months, but you have to let me try.” He did. It worked. Fantastically. Should you do that? Only if you’re ready to follow-through.

Players and dynamics change. After you clear past moral, ethical, legal there are still so many shades of gray till you feel it’s “okay with you” not to mention aligned with your “leadership philosophy.”

When taking a stand, it’s important to have clarity. There will be consequences to your convictions. Good and bad. And open to interpretation.

Signs It’s Time to Do the Right Thing

“Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing”
Do the right thing when:
  • Your heart says stop
  • Your heart says go
  • You can’t sleep
  • The good guys are aligned
  • Your trusted advisors wrinkle their noses
  • Something’s stupid
  • You keep praying, but know the answer
  • Someone’s forgotten the human beings
  • You wouldn’t tell your kids your choices

With every decision, you’re writing your story.

Do the right thing anyway

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Ali Anani (@alianani15)

    Karin- a musical post dancing with joy and raising eyebrows with positive astonishment.
    I love this paragraph “One time I even walked into my boss’ office and said, “if this doesn’t work, I’ll resign in 6 months, but you have to let me try.” He did. It worked. Fantastically. Should you do that? Only if you’re ready to follow-through. This show the importance of trusting oneself to get the trust of others. Trust + Accountability = Key Success Factor.
    I had a go with one of my bosses soon after I got my PhD. The boss added his name to one of my research papers without telling me. Worse, he put his name first. trust + Accountability resulted in removing his name and removing the boss from the organization.
    Trust + Accountability- now I understand why I succeeded.

  2. Ali Anani (@alianani15)

    Karin- a second thought. This post just inspired me with a presentation idea on “Creative Emotions”. I am sure the idea is almost new. If I ever publish it (I hope I do) then you are the inspirer.

  3. letsgrowleaders

    Ali, Thanks so much. Creative emotions …. very intriguing! Can’t wait to see it.

  4. Dave Tumbarello

    Thank you Karin. Again. I think about the times when I have had to stick up for something or else…

    It is so difficult to be on your own. I am thinking about a time when I knew something was right and in a group of leaders, no one stood up except myself. People have different ways of acting when they encounter (1) someone who appears to have power, (2) an unfamiliar situation when something may feel wrong or out of place, (3) eyes — when other people may judge your opinion or stance. Put those together and many leaders back down. And when I feel alone, then it is even more important to define what we’re all talking about & procedure. Whew!

    • letsgrowleaders

      Dave, So glad you don’t back down. And yes, it can be lonely. Namaste.

  5. Greg Marcus

    Thanks Karin. I think in the long run doing the right thing is a better strategy. Thanks for sharing your story about the time you talked to your boss. A really helpful example.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Thanks, Greg. I agree… in the long run, we have to live with ourselves.

  6. Michael Jährling

    Hi Karin,

    Appreciated thisd post. It’s a little sad that it even needs to be said. Doing the right thing, that is, acting honestly and on principle, and in line with what you believe to be right, is what it means to behave with integrity, and it should be a given. I don’t believe anyone could give an example of a good leader, or for that matter a good person, who lacks integrity.

    Keep the thought provocations coming… 🙂


    • letsgrowleaders

      Michael, Thanks so much. Yeah, I wish I never felt inspired to write such posts.

  7. Lolly Daskal

    What a great post.

    Heart based leadership is all about checking into the heart and leading from within.

    When the heart says stop and the mind says go … We as leaders must stand firm in what we truly want we must listen to the messages that are stronger and ring true for us. Because otherwise we find ourselves out of balance.

    Listening to the messages that feed us, will keep us from feeling drained.

    Trust the inner messages that make you grow and not keep you stuck.

    Be brave enough, to trust and to move forward with confidence.

    Fear will always be there, but make it your friend.

    I loved your post.
    It made me think.
    It made me feel.
    Thanks Karin!!!!!!

    • letsgrowleaders

      Lolly, Thanks so much. That means a lot. Trusting our inner messages, leads to discovery and the most important work. Namaste.

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