The CEO of the Company was having his monthly meeting with his direct reports to discuss achievements, strengths, opportunities missed or well used and way forward.
Jack, the CFO of the company had attended several of these meetings and felt the quality of these meetings had deteriorated. In the moments of silence, whenever he was an observer, he felt these meetings had become agreeable in nature and no brainstorming was encouraged.
Just in the last meeting he had raised an objection to the way the revenues were being earned and the way the company was going about increasing its market share and how in the medium to long-term the company may not be able to hold its market share. He also had concerns on the franchise value which he thought he will bring it up later. Despite presenting solutions he was left with the feeling that by raising a different perspective, he was considered possibly a rebel. The room didn’t celebrate his passion for the business nor appreciate his concern.
Don’t trouble trouble till trouble troubles you because if you trouble trouble, trouble will trouble you. As a kid I used to play this tongue twister with my friends.
Today in many organizations and in many societies, many individuals as so-called leaders and many others in their daily walk of life seem to be applying this tongue twister in every sense of the word.
As Dr. King said: “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
People hesitate to speak up about injustices, poor practices, processes that don’t make sense. Many times these procedures and archaic practices creates a significant amount of unnecessary complexity and fosters a passive acceptance of the status quo.
The real test of your leadership comes not only when you identify a problem but also after you identify the problem. You then bring it to the forefront and take action to rectify it. Problems are signposts that you can’t and must not ignore and it is essential to see, speak up against, and address them in order to move forward.
Think back of those moments when you were considered a rebel because you didn’t go with the flow, challenged the methods and raised your concerns.
Do you as a true leader ignore the dissenting inner voice ?
Do you give up challenging a situation just because you are going to meet resistance?
Do you stop advocating an idea because it is not met with eyes of approval?
Do you have the courage to do what is right even if it is not the most popular?
Do you surround yourself with a team of people who can challenge your thinking and whose strengths make up for your deficits?
If you look at leaders like Steve Jobs or Martin Luther King they and their ideology or ways were not accepted easily. They were considered as dissenters or dogmatic when they started off.
To stand out from a crowd despite working in the interest of the vision of the organization could be overwhelming and for sure not comfortable. Your character as a leader is on a test in such situations. Yes and for many people who choose to stand out for what is right, their careers may have suffered and some called as not fitting in.
As leaders how do you point others to the new horizons or to the vision of the organization and yet show that the current practices aren’t going to achieve the same or what others are missing out ?
1. Leaders lead from their heart and are guided by their within.
2. Leaders by pointing out what others don’t see do not intend to be antagonistic but take responsibility, show accountability and a sense of ownership.
3. Leaders do not allow their values and the organization values to be overridden by keeping silent.
4. Leaders lead by their life and foster an environment and culture of being committed and not allow others perspectives or views to deter them.
5. Leaders must develop a lower threshold for alibis and become better communicators and enforcers of what they want done. If you are more interested in being liked and popular than holding people accountable for results, you have a serious leadership weakness. It is not your job to make people happy. Your job is to get them better. Holding people accountable to high standards and results is nothing to apologize for. Failing to stretch them to their potential is.” -Dave Anderson
Education and experience is not only for acquisition of technical skills and knowledge but to develop that bent of mind and an attitude of responsibility, courage and above all be human.
What problems have you overcome today?
How well are you serving as a leader that only you can serve ?
Are you leading to your organization’s vision with humility, courage, and empathy?