Tuesday, July 14, 2009

‘Sifters & Testers’ – the Disciplined Leadership Role

We can’t always afford rampant compassion when we’re in sifting, testing roles. Part of the deal in life at times is we must test people’s hearts--the seat of the intentions. Only with this knowledge regarding the loyalty and faithfulness of people, toward the achievement of defined objectives, can we proceed with them.

This philosophy of disciplined leadership holds in all facets of life, whether we’re leading our children or we’re leading major corporate change, and all situations between. The leader both in the home and in the boardroom must have a level of control over the hearts and minds of subordinates i.e. children, employees, team members etc.

If control through voluntary obedience is not established, the leader (parent or executive) simply cannot proceed under those terms. They will need to intervene and overtly or covertly bring order to these situations.

Sifting is a role of the Almighty in the realms of both worldly and spiritual life, and the leader merely mimics this facet of the role-image of God. God tests our hearts all the time if we’re the slightest bit aware (Psalms 17:3; 66:10; 139:23). He uses people to act as his agents in this, particularly the leader.

Those overly prone to compassion, having a weakness for it, playing, for instance, the permissive parent or executive will prove quite ineffective and possibly even dangerous in the leadership role. (The same could be said for the opposite--the authoritarian parent or executive--but for different reasons. These lose balance to the other side and are too strict, lacking grace.)

Feelings can easily get in the way of real progress, especially when we put the feelings of one individual above the corporate (family or business) objective. It is plainly inappropriate. The collective is the priority, not the individual.

Leadership anywhere and everywhere is not a popularity contest, though leaders can achieve a great amount of respect by leading honourably, consistently and fairly. There’s no quick way to these outcomes, however.

Non-dubiously sifting and testing people and their motives, in fairness and consideration, is part and parcel of the leadership role and challenge. How else do we see if our experiments will work out under fire, in the heat of battle?

Isn’t that the purpose of leadership in practice in the preparation phase; to ensure the processes and people we lead are indeed ready for the main tests to come?

Our influence is dynamic. Every action has an equal and commensurate reaction, to paraphrase Newton.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

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