20 November 2014 0 Comments

Leadership Part 16

11-20-14 LII BlogContinuing with the importance of decisiveness and risk taking as part of the leader’s Focus.

Decisiveness

Leaders make decisions.   Decisions should be made with adequate forethought and research, but not at the expense of being prolonged.  Indecisiveness is not a trait of a leader.   Make a call and go with it!  Once a decision has been made a leader does not exhibit any second thoughts to their followers.   Discussions with closest advisors are also not only acceptable, but advisable.  But once a decision has been announced, to the rest of the world that must be a clear unequivocal go!  There must be no hesitancy.

If you have a good feeling that you have enough data with which to make a decision, then make it!  You are focused on the goals so most of the time you will be right.  Your followers will have the comfort of knowing that their leader can make decisions and is a person of conviction.  If changes are required—and they are made with equal decisiveness—there need be no loss of face.

Taking Risks

Leaders who have focus are willing to take risks.  With risk comes reward.  By having a complete knowledge of their subject and the support of dedicated followers, taking risks is a part of what makes up a leader.  Risks do not always work out.  If they did, then there was really no risk involved.  A risk is an action that could either result in rewarding results, or end in failure.  The key to good risk taking is the ability to analyze the up-side and down-side of the action before proceeding…and then to proceed with focus.

There is not a leader who can honestly tell you that he has never taken an action that did not work out.  But, they can also tell you what the upside was had the plans been successful and what they learned from their failed efforts.

Risks that only require capital infusion are the simplest to make.  Set a budget that you are willing to invest and go for it.  If it doesn’t work out, you have predetermined the maximum loss you are willing to sustain.  That was your down-side.  Measure this against the upside.  Is the potential gain worth it?

Of course, seldom do risks require only capital infusion.  They also require human efforts…yours as the leader and those of others working on the project.  The leader can account for the loss of his own time when a risk taken results in failure.  He can also personally prepare for the possibility of failure.  But, the toll that is felt by others who have participated in an abortive attempt must be weighed carefully before the leader moves forward.  The leader must be prepared to bolster the spirits of others who work on a project should it not succeed.  Monetary losses can be budgeted for.  The loss of spirit in co-workers can be more difficult to repair.

Take risks.  Plan to succeed.  Be steadfast in your resolve.  Have a contingency plan when it is required.

Next…the final element of Focus: Passion/Dedication.

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