Friday, July 18, 2008

Defining Leadership

If I edit my personal mission statement, it's to be more clear about what "leaders" is for me. Right now, when I read it, it speaks to me, so I'm OK with it.

When I say leaders, I mean someone who examines conventions, paradigms or the way things are done. They have the willingness and the courage to objectively assess if their behaviour, or the behaviour of their environment, is actually the right way to get to their intended objective.

They also have the courage to change the way they act if they discover something in that examination.

For example, if I'm stuck in a cubicle all day and I'm just pumping out paper, I may realize that I would be more strategic, more thoughtful, more productive and more energized if I was also engaging in conversations with my colleagues. When I look around though, everyone else's head is down, too. Of course, if you do change your behaviour and try and change the behaviour of a colleague, you're not being immediately strategic, thoughtful, productive and energetic. Changing your behaviour has a short-term cost. Given this cost, I think most people shrug their shoulders and pick up a hobby outside of work. Leaders don't avoid it. They summon the courage to act.

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