Leadership Requires Courage Not Excuses

Step out from the others

“How to stop the worrying and learn to love the job”– article written by Wallace Immen for the Globe and Mail daily newspaper.  The article was based on an interview with Graham Jones who is a Psychologist and Leadership Consultant.  The article was mostly around the pressure of the job of leadership.  After reading the article I said to myself well that was fairly basic stuff and boy if individuals in leadership positions don’t even know this stuff then they don’t deserve to be in their positions.  The sooner they step down the better it is for the organisation that they are supposed to be leading.

Why do I draw this conclusion well the article starts with talking about in times of pressure like now with the economic recession and the difficulties of operating in times like this, therefore if leaders think differently at this time then they will inspire themselves and their people.  My question is, aren’t leaders supposed to think differently all of the time?  It is my opinion that we are missing the point here the reality is most leaders have never experienced times like this and therefore don’t seem to have or gained the skills to work their way out of these types of serious situations.  This in turn is now being called as pressure, the only reason its pressure is that they don’t have answers to the issues at hand and have not got the skills to come up with answers.  To get out of where they are at now needs courage, risk and commitment so that the real leaders can stand out and not only communicate a vision but actually start the implementation process and stick with it.

The article goes on to say “real leaders make decisions and stand by them and tell it how it is”. It describes leaders has having mental toughness and wait for it setting daily goals (a to do list) – I am sorry but I would consider this very basic stuff, if your employees on first line management don’t even have these skills well I would feel your business is already in difficulty.  This is the bit that really got me “Stinking thinking” to stop the negative thinking “you have to ask yourself questions such as is there another way to view this situation”. Is this not simple basic problem solving or what?  Maybe it is back to simple basics of management?

I believe the main issue for leaders today is the internal politics that is waiting within their organisation for the leaders to make a mistake so those in opposition can say I told you so and see this as their opportunity to take over.  Or to do nothing as others at senior management levels don’t have solutions either and therefore do nothing.  This leads to a great lack of decision making by most leaders and therefore playing it safe rather than standing up and doing what is required.  In times of great difficulty a good leaders will gather or create a loyal and trusted team.  Work with them to create and drive out the required decisions and activities that are necessary to secure the organisations future.  A real leader will inspire, encourage and visibly demonstrate support for the vision.  Removing any obstacles that might hinder the team in delivering the agreed vision.

Finally I do agree with one point made within the article and that is the ability to switch off and create a balance in your work life with home life.  Taking time out to take care of you, be that exercise, meditation, quite thinking time and most of all the one I would strongly add is real leaders need to have the ability to have fun and laugh in live.

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Mel Clifford

Experienced coach & consultant dedicated to personal growth. Offering coaching, public speaking, & insightful books on personal development & business management.


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