Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lesson of the Day: Authentic Leadership

Of late have been doing a few posts that on teh surface appeared to be about personal relationships. That is part was done because most people can relate to them when they are worded in such a way as to make them personally identifiable. and relate-able.

I will expand on those posts I did here and on facebook using a personal story. Not that long ago I held an elected position. I was one of the people who developed the processes and criteria for that position. I presented my platform and my peer presented theirs. People also told me that they planned to vote for me. Come time I lost the election. Yet, how can you loose an election when people committed to vote for you unless they either misstated their intent or simply did not live up to their commitment?

When I lost I congratulated the winer and remained silent. There were people who came to me afterwards stating if that happened to them they would have made a loud noise regarding the outcome to which I responded - why? Had I behaved in that manner it would not have affected te outcome and would have sent the message that I disrespected the very process I helped to create. Later some of the people who did not vote for me approached me for help stating that the person they selected who told them what they wanted to hear was not living up to their commitment to them. My response was simply that I cannot help them because it is not my place or responsibility to do so and that they should hold the elected person accountable for living up to the expectations of their office. This was done because as a leader it is my responsibility even having lost the elections to help people understand they must accept the rewards and consequences of their decision so that next time out they will make a more educated choice. Sometimes when we attempt to make everything right or fix everything we do more damage then good. Ironically, over time many of those people ended up loosing their positions.

What did I do:
  • Respected the process that was put in place
  • Acknowledged and respected the choice of the constituents
  • Held the people accountable to their choices

Too often people go for what they want to hear instead of listening for and doing what they need to for their own best interest. Also, people are shocked when they make those choices others accept them and all that the choice entails.

The lessons to be learned are:
  • Listen carefully to what you are being told
  • Observe the behavior of those making the commitments
  • Always be consistent in what you promise to do
  • Hold yourself and those connected to you accountable for their words and actions
  • Education people but respect then enough to allow them to make their own choices
  • Understand that you are not above the process (law)
  • People's lives and business are not a game - do not play

Feel free to add anything else you feel of benefit.

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