Hopefully we can agree on the importance of consistency for leaders as an ingredient for earning respect. But as I mentioned in the previous newsletter, consistency alone will not win the day. Someone could be consistently wrong, consistently malicious or even consistently absent. Such consistent behavior might allow us to predict the future and prepare accordingly; but it would not earn respect. And again, in order to earn others’ respect, all the ingredients must work together.
So let’s look at the second ingredient for earning respect — the ability to make quality decisions. Please note that I did not say perfect decisions; I said quality decisions. It’s impossible to make a perfect decision without perfect knowledge of the future. And since no one I know is omniscient, we should not expect perfection in our own or in other people’s decision making.
But, quality decision making is different. You and I can consistently put ourselves in positions to make good quality decisions by establishing some basic standards up front — then following those standards habitually.
How to Make Quality Decisions
Here’s a story that illustrates how making good quality decisions requires knowing where you stand on issues before you’re forced to make those decisions — please watch:
The simplicity, truth and power of the young woman’s story immediately struck me. And it wasn’t just for its significance as a coming of age experience between a mother and her daughter. The story’s significance has unmistakable implications for leaders.
If we, as leaders, don’t know how far we are (or are not) willing to go when faced with the inevitable professional decisions we must make, we too may find ourselves dealing with the frustration, the guilt and the negative repercussions of decisions we make “in the heat of the moment.” Successful leadership grows from a well developed, pre-established personal foundation.
This foundation requires that each of us, as individual leaders, consider where we stand on issues (and what we stand for) before we’re forced to make decisions.
Leaders earn respect using three basic ingredients — you have the first two: consistency and making quality decisions. Any ideas on what the final ingredient will be? Stay tuned!
Phillip Van Hooser
Leadership Training Expert, Keynote Speaker
Author of Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership
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This article is adapted from Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership, (Wiley 2013). Copyright 2013 by Phillip Van Hooser. All rights reserved. This article may be downloaded for personal and professional development. Copies may be shared within an individual organization. All other uses of this material are strictly prohibited without written permission from the author.