Good day Team,
The coach’s challenge of the week is to consider the tension that leaders experience when making decisions between following their inner compass and bowing to outside pressures.
It is reasonable to question how successful a business leader can be who always follows his inner compass. How many CEOs would lose their jobs if they ignored the advice and wishes of their stakeholders because their personal compass pointed the other way? To me that answer comes down to the moment to moment struggle leaders experience between doing what they know is right versus what is expected – what the values suggest versus what the numbers dictate.
Many leaders walk this razor’s edge. I believe that the tension it creates is at the heart of what makes someone a great leader – balancing what their inner compass is telling them with an ability to also see the larger picture and how their decisions impact the profitability of their company.
From a practical perspective, here are some examples of different approaches to leading others. Which of the two styles attracts you?
|Aligns with higher values||Maximizes profit|
|Inspirational||Impersonal – “it’s just business”|
|Sustainable||Short term results|
|Transparent and accountable||Infallible|
When I look at these contrasting ideas, I can see that strong leadership draws from both columns. No one can run a business and ignore the numbers. Sometimes, you do have to sacrifice your long term goals for short term results. And there are some mistakes leaders should not admit to given the damage that knowledge does to your team or your stakeholders.
But the key to me is in your self-awareness. If you are familiar with your inner territory, you can see what part of you is making the decision. Is it from greed or generosity? Are your decisions and actions aligned with the company’s values and ethics? By observing how you balance your inner world against your external pressures, you can see how integrated you are.
Is your behavior reflective of your inner values? If not, do you justify the behavior by saying “it’s not personal. It’s business.” Are you inspiring others by who you are as well as by your actions? Are you acting one way towards your team members but feeling the exact opposite internally?
This week, take a look at how balanced you are between your inner guide and your external actions. If I asked the people in your organization to describe you, would they say you have integrity?
As Gandhi so aptly said, “Each of us must be the change we want to see in the world”.
Have a great week!
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