Leadership.  A word we hear in board meetings, locker rooms, political races, times of crisis, and pulpits.  If you had to pick some qualities of a leader you would hear phrases like ‘works well with others, courageous, willing to take risk, selfless.’ You get the idea, but many times we get so caught up in who the leader is, what’s often overlooked is what lesson is being taught when that moment to lead arises.  That moment could be on the battle field, the sports field, the classroom, or the courtroom.  Regardless of the venue, the moment will come where there has to be a response, and in that response the leader and those that follow will learn something in the process.

The lesson there is that leadership is not necessarily tied to a position or job title. You may be the head coach, but your inability to motivate and make necessary adjustments routinely cost the team wins.  The death nail of a coach is said when he or she loses the locker room.  You may find yourself at the head of the board, but your short sightedness in innovation may lead to losses for your shareholders and detrimental to your bottom line.  Leadership requires the capacity to deviate, adjust, and shift according to the conditions on the field, it also demands patience and forward thinking.  Having an understanding and appreciating the lessons of leadership and selflessness can avoid adverse consequences, to your organizations mission as well as guide you from crisis to crisis.  

By understanding the lesson that is being taught a decision that in the short term may not seem sound, but provide long term benefits to all those involved is more receptive and communicated down the line.  When everyone seems to be zigging and you make the decision to zag, there may be some pushback. However, at the end of the journey when you are the only one still on the road, the finish line seems more clear.  Everyday leadership may involve life and death situations by requiring to consider the now and not the later.  Leadership decisions may even impact the future of your family.  The key is to evaluate the information and process it, but understand that the situation on the ground may change in a moment’s notice.  So the time you thought you had to make a decision isn’t a reality.  There is no time to stop, second guess, and worry.  Leadership requires a vision, a clear vision that although you don’t know what lies ahead you can still chart a course that is navigable. 

When your choices come down to only bad options, you have to decide what course would yield the least exposure, have courage in your convictions and be mindful of the lesson.   The lesson is not necessary the outcome, but the process of getting to the outcome. If we fail to learn the lesson or not even see it, then we were never leading only moving without purpose.


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