We left off on our journey to better understand leadership as a process with a question.
BTW, it is always good to leave off the learning cycle with a question (rather than an answer).
The question is how do we better learn how to talk about “comfort from certainty” issues in order to build consensus? We know already that this is critical as a confidence building tool. A tool that can energize groups.
BTW, Sir Kenneth Clark discussed the results of confidence building throughout his 13 part series on civilisation. He makes the point that confidence is a critical component of civilized societies. Loss of confidence, for whatever reason, paralyzes us.
So, how to build confidence? The first step is to begin to think more precisely about the ideas of “success” and “failure”. What’s the difference? Most people think that success is good and failure is bad. Thus, the most paralyzing message from the left side of the brain is “You are a failure!” or “There is no way you can do that.” But for purposes of building or even assessing leadership capacity, this is wrong, wrong, and wrong. Did I say it was wrong?
Here is the rule — The only difference between success and failure is the standard chosen for measurement. It is all a matter of metrics. Thus, a batting average of 400 in US baseball sounds great (success). Yet it means that the batter fails to get a hit more than half the time. This can be considered success or failure depending on the standard we choose. That goes for every success/failure conclusion we can make.
Applying this rule, we need to think carefully about the metrics we choose before we draw conclusions about failure. Moreover, we need to get over the paralyzing fear of failure that drives most people to passivity.
This sounds simple, but keep track of your thoughts. How often do you deny yourself permission? How often do you give yourself permission? Good questions. BTW, how often do you give or deny others around you permission? Do you give yourself permission to say that you are lost? That you are not sure? That failing is ok?
If you are with me so far, we have taken the following steps. In the first part
(1) we started thinking about the difference between shaping and accepting the environment around us. (2) We considered that we shape only when we see a need to do so. In fact, we are more comfortable accepting (3) We noted that we cannot see a need without applying our standards of what is appropriate, (4) and so leadership as a shaping process depends heavily on how we manage our comfort zones — what we believe in leads us automatically to see what needs to be done.
In this part
(1) we noticed the staying power of questions, (2) we noted the importance of building confidence as a prerequisite to action, (3) we challenged the traditional ideas that success is always good and failure bad, (3) we noted that the only difference is the choice of the standard to measure (the metric) (4) This raised the question about the relationship between leadership and discussing metrics.
I think this is enough for one “bite of the apple”. It leads me to think of a second question. If leadership involves building and using metrics, why can’t we build a metric to test leadership itself? Good question
Tags: ldrshp 1