Thursday, October 8, 2009

Leadership Patterns have Roots

I read a great quote the other day from Parker Palmer. He said, “A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him or herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.”

When I spend time thinking about this quote I quickly concur that the act of leading oneself is far more demanding than leading an organization or any group of people. If I fail to look inward, evaluating my own habits and ways, I will have moments of uncontrolled outburst in front of those I lead that are rarely rooted in the present, but in the past, in some recess of my sub-conscience.

Ruth Haley Barton puts it well in her book called Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. She says, “Part of the reason that leadership is crucible is that if we stick with it past the initial euphoria, the demands of long-term leadership usually push us to a place where our patterns are clearly revealed. The demands of ministry (or other), keep our face pressed up against the mirror until we are able to acknowledge the hidden dynamics that are driving us.”

What has been your experience in connecting the dots between your leadership behaviors today and your past experiences that helped form you, be that good and bad?


Monday, October 5, 2009

Decisions Decisions

Just finished a book that I started a few months ago and had a couple of chapters to complete. It’s called How We Decide by Johan Lehrer. I really enjoyed reading this book and thinking about how our brain works when it comes to decision making activities.

I enjoyed figuring out my own patterns on decision making and thinking about those of the people that I lead. The other day I was sharing with a colleague about my decision making habits and it brought to mind this book and that I had not completed it yet.

The way my particular brain works is that I am quite analytical about things. I am always for more details, more information so that I can make the right choice. This is just fine for those of us analytical types, but the book talks about when landing on the decision, your best decision will usually be from the gut and not from the raw data. After reading and evaluating the way I come to decisions, it’s not too far off what the book is talking about. While I drive those crazy around me looking for all the inputs to a problem, I still respond to the solution with my gut instinct.

The book is telling me that this is actually the best way to go! It doesn’t mean I ignore all of the inputs, on the contrary, I take them all into consideration. What I have learned from reading this book is that most of our intuitions are based on sub-conscious knowledge. So if you and I perform due diligence on fact finding, then follow our gut instinct, we will find more often than not that we choose right.

How do you make decisions? Fast, slow, never? What is the biggest thing you wrestle with when making decisions? The aftermath of second guessing?

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