Monday, August 2, 2010

Ten Aspects of Strong Leadership: Point #7

Moving on with Chuck Lauer's list of leadership traits, today I want to cover one that can be clearly seen in many leaders but is even more obvious when it is lacking. Not everyone who is elevated to a leadership position has everything that it takes to lead. A leadership role is very demanding and you must be willing to take on these challenges.

7) Embrace responsibility

There are two aspects of taking on responsibility and decision making. The first is making that enlightened decision in a timely manner and the second is standing by it under pressure. Regarding making the right decision, it must be fair and balanced taking into account all the factors in play. These are usually contradictory so the decision making is much more difficult. Responding without knowing all of the facts can be bad, but being frozen with indecision during critical times is certainly worse.

Great leaders actually enjoy the challenge of taking on responsibility and making the tough decisions. These are people who thrive under stress. Not that they go about purposely creating stressful situations. There are some people who do that. But great leaders derive an inner strength under stress and find a way to show peak performance. They do not waffle under challenge of their decisions. Any tough decision, even the right one is bound to have some challenges to it. Making the right decision in the first place is a leadership skill. But sticking with it under challenge is just as important.

Clearly this is not for everyone. I have seen people in leadership positions who freeze under pressure or back away from tough decisions hoping that they will resolve themselves. Obviously these people do not survive long term in a leadership position. The organization is looking for someone to take charge and take a stand. Even if they do not personally agree with a position, many people will follow a leader who clearly articulates his or her position.

It is during times of crisis that strong leaders clearly differentiate themselves.

More on leadership tomorrow.

Mark Brodeur

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