In last week’s article on the topic of discernment, I stated, “In order for leaders to lead effectively, the exercise of discernment is essential. We live in a day when anyone with charisma can attract a crowd – whether they are the real deal or a mere charmer with advanced personal communication skill. The ability to tell the difference is essential. This ability is called discernment.”
In response, several questions have arisen:
In order for leaders to lead effectively, the exercise of discernment is essential. We live in a day when anyone with charisma can attract a crowd – whether they are the real deal or a mere charmer with advanced personal communication skill.
The ability to tell the difference is essential. This ability is called discernment.
Consider the following (hypothetical) news release: “The government reported third quarter economic growth at 5.4 percent. This compares with 6.0 percent for the second quarter and a long-term average of 3.0 percent.”
OK, so maybe I am watching too much television news lately…or is it a valid concern? Namely, people in leadership increasingly appear to be “in it for themselves” rather than leading for the sake of those who depend on them to lead.
We were reminded of a simple approach to decision-making recently. The following is copied, with permission, from the introduction to a Company Personnel Policy Manual:
In our early years, the Company’s leadership did not have a handbook such as the one you are now reading. Rather than emphasizing rules and policies, every attempt was made - and has been made - to establish a Company culture where people actually talk to one another!
One of the facts of life for a person newly placed in a leadership role is the reality that, as the leader, they will not ever be able to simply join in with their team on the same sociological level as the rest of the players.
Leadership sets a person apart. This is both functional and psychological. It is also the reason why many people struggle when they are first placed in a leadership role. Having a history prior to leadership of being able to blend in with the team, they simply aren’t in the same role as everyone else now that they are a leader.
One of the characteristics of leadership is the willingness to take a stand. This became more clear a while back when a client had to address the behaviors of a person in their work-group.
The person was/is likable, talented, persuasive, and charismatic. And was also insubordinate.
It would have been easy to dodge the issue due to the capabilities of the individual. However, doing so would have bred an attitude of independence in the entirety of the workgroup. Like cancer, the unchecked attitude would have only spread.
This last week I was reminded of a simple and yet core leadership trait during a lunch meeting with Vickie, who is the CEO of her own management company (she is also our good friend).
As we talked, Vickie shared that her husband and company co-owner Tim had always demonstrated calm leadership. He would often remind those around him that, “It is what it is.”
Vickie said that the greatest demonstration of Tim’s leadership and resolve occurred when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. His immediate verbal response as he learned of the diagnosis, “It is what it is.”