Weekly Thought -October 19, 2021
Fred excelled in disciplining his decisions. He, also, made this exercise part of his mentoring. He knew healthy organizations depended heavily on the skill of leadership in assessing situations and making wise, effective decisions.
As leaders, our decisions determine the character of our organizations. We cannot afford to make exceptions for ourselves. If the President cuts corners, it sets standards for the entire organization. In my experience, dishonesty at the top encourages it throughout.
I have seen some leaders overlook “small dishonesties” as a way to glue the organization to the leader through guilt… it may even become an informal perk. If the company philosophy says honesty is the best policy, then it must be the only policy. My mentor at GENESCO had a policy: “If it has to be done, it has to be done right. If it can’t be done right, it doesn’t have to be done.” Where others took short cuts we had to work to find creative solutions with integrity.
Leaders must recognize that their character directly affects how they operate. They must make disciplined decisions. For example, working from the desire to maintain total control does not usually result in a healthy organization. Some leaders operate with the agenda of protecting personal position. Leadership development in such situations is thwarts personnel development.
I was once in a ministry reorganization that raised the control question. “Is this work his or His?” “Does it belong to the leader or to God?” When I hear a ministry leader say “God called me to head up this organization” I want to ask “For what purpose: to give you a lifetime job, or that the mission might be accomplished?” Control driven ministry leaders are usually more self-serving than God-serving.
Certainly there are times of emergency when unilateral control may be required for a short time – until the emergency is resolved.
Control oriented leadership doesn’t establish succession. I was once asked to take the helm as President of an organization that had long been led by a dictatorial head. I knew my team approach would not be profitable because the staff was trained to act on orders, not to think through solutions. I couldn’t in good conscience ask people who hadn’t taken responsibility for results for years to begin to think for themselves. My experience teaches me the perpetuity of the healthy organization is management’s first responsibility, and so leadership development at all levels is of prime importance. Successful succession is a leader’s responsibility and often a test of character.
Think carefully about: 1) What measures do I use to assess the health of an organization? 2) How careful am I to make disciplined decision – even in the smallest matter? 3) Who looks up to me as a model for character development?
Words of Wisdom: “Leaders must recognize that their character directly affects how they operate.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Listen to advice and receive discipline, that you may become wise by the end of your life.” (Proverbs 19:20 NET Bible)