May 2016

. . . helping organizations find solutions to people-related problems

Leading is Tough

There is a dearth of leadership in the world. The Twenty-First Century holds many technological promises and mind-blowing innovations. Leadership, however, seems to be maintaining at best and perhaps even waning on the world stage at large. I recently saw a bumper sticker that said "If the people lead, the leaders will follow." It gave me the same sense of pause as the concept of "Leading from behind." Somehow we have become so enamored with mind and word games that truth has become devalued and obscured.

Leadership is influencing others. When we exercise leadership, we put ourselves and our egos at serious risk. We take a stand on an important question, and we defend our position, our perspective, with various degrees of vigor, hoping that our rationale will be accepted and understood by those we seek to persuade. Pursuing persuasion at any level calls for courage and exposes us to the potential counter arguments of those whom we may fear are intellectually superior. It is amazing how willing we are to accept a competitive sporting challenge, even if we believe we have little chance of winning a physical contest, and how reluctant we are to muster the courage to defend our own thinking and principles. Somehow our societal proclivity to engage in intellectual bullying has not been as well managed as our concern for physical and online bullying. Why is it we are so reticent to defend our individual beliefs and cultural values? I was reared in a school whose motto is "Courage, Honor, Conquer." If as a leader you don't embrace the first word, the others will never follow.

Leadership is not just the stuff of presidents, executives, supervisors, and other such extolled positions; it is the currency that each of us can spend in defending what we see as truth. Deferring to others as a default position is irresponsible and unacceptable. Leadership is a skill and a discipline unto itself. The most effective leaders are not necessarily the most brilliant scholars in the class. They are, however, characterized by the ability to communicate clearly in common sense ways, using metaphors and illustrations that others can easily relate to and adapt to their own thinking. To exercise leadership at any level, courage is the essential element. If you have carefully thought out your reasoning, the potential rewards in terms of personal satisfaction well outweigh the risks.

If your organization needs to develop leaders and unified, cohesive teams, talk with us about ways to challenge your people and provide paths to improve its effectiveness in satisfying today's goals and meeting tomorrow's demands.

Warm regards

Dave Martin


HRA Services, Inc.

"Applying Systematic Thinking to the Human Dimension"