How to be a Badass Without Becoming a Jerk-hole

You can’t succeed as a leader if your need to be liked exceeds your drive to achieve.

There are three options in the tension between results and relationships.

  1. Results without relationships. (Jerk-hole.)
  2. Results through relationships. 
  3. Relationships without results. (Pushovers.)


My wife and I are watching Counterpart on TV. The main character is Howard Silk.

Howard is a nice guy who keeps his head down and does his job. He’s disciplined, kind, and loves his wife.

Howard, in episode one, is a pushover.

Howard meets a badass version of himself from another dimension. Badass-Howard kills without remorse. His wife hates him.  Badass-Howard stands up for himself.

People-pleasers need a little more badassiness.

Badass leaders:

#1. Love goals. Badass Howard has little time for chitchat. He’s always thinking about getting the job done.

#2. Drive for results. Progress is nice, but badasses are like caged animals when it comes to results.

#3. Don’t need to be liked. A badass needs to get things done more than they need you to feel good about them.

#4. Walk on anyone who isn’t on board. Relationship building for badasses – if it exists – is about getting things done.

#5. Do hard things because they need to be done.


Tension between “drive for results” and “need to be liked” is your badass score. Badass scores less than 5 mean you’re a pushover. Scores higher than 8 indicate you’re a jerk-hole.

How to be a badass without becoming a jerk-hole:

  1. Value relationships.
  2. Develop goals that require courage. Stretch goals bring out your badassiness.
  3. Surround yourself with people who believe that results are more important than relationships, when the choice needs to be made.
  4. Work on bringing kindness and drive together. 
  5. Need to be liked by a few people, not everyone.

What does a badass leader with heart look like?

How might people-pleasers develop a little badassiness?