30 Jun 2020 at 10:27 #28253Colin DonianKeymaster
In Karoo’s construction of influential Leadership an integral element is ‘behaviour’. Beyond our intentions and words, greater than what the universe bestows on us through our economic, political, and social heritage, it is our behaviour that stands for who and what we are.
Winston Churchill hits the nail on its head when he advised that, ‘I no longer listen to what people say, I just watch what they do. Behaviour never lies.’ Whether we watch ourselves, if we have enough self-awareness, or others, our deeds are what defines us most. If there is ever a contradiction between our words and our behaviours, which one is right?
Personal and collective behaviours are thus the essence of leaders who exercise influential leadership, and so they must go first. This does not imply that they necessarily go ahead of others, it means they ‘go’ first and foremost. There is action, there is behaviour to witness. The words, the fine speeches, the exultation to do great things; these are valuable indeed, but count for little if the person does not go first.
In some instances, it may, of course, imply that a leader does ‘go first’, meaning ‘ahead’ of the crowd, ahead of what the norms may be, ahead of what others may be doing or not. Those who are skilled at influential Leadership know when it is right to forge ahead while others hesitate, hiding amongst the familiarities of what is known, and comfortable and obsolete, and often inadequate or wrong.
If we bear in mind that leadership is not a social construct that exists for its own purpose, but for some collective or societal goal. Leadership is about achieving certain objectives and outcomes. In the prevailing absence of leadership, there are clarion calls for ‘leaders’ to do what we expect of them – even if we have little idea what a leader is, or what we need done. We, people, have an innate need for other to do the hard yards, to slay their dragons, to make their problems go away, to make their lives better. There is often a sense that people in positions of power, in high office, those with grand titles, are ‘our leaders’ and they must do ‘leadership things’.
If there is ever a contradiction between our words and our behaviours, which one is right? Influential Leaders pursue the right outcomes through the right behaviours, at the right time for the right people. Thus, influential Leaders go first.
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