Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing. – Warren Bennis, Ph.D. “On Becoming a Leader”
Doing the right thing is much more complicated that what we like to admit. Doing the right thing usually means dealing in truth in such a way that truth takes a leading role. Leadership is knowing what to do with the truth.
Sometimes we don’t like that because if the truth is in control, inevitably we’re left with the test of character: how we respond to truth & how we help others to respond to the truth.
Becoming a leader means having a courageous and transparent relationship with truth in all it’s forms.
- offering honest and constructive feedback to those around us
- dealing with self-reflection and objective appraisal as habit
- understanding ourselves, our capabilities and that of our team
In the last fifty years – we have come to expect leaders to be more like superheroes who woo and charm us. We’ve also sat gleefully by whilst they meet our expectations of failure and inability to live up to those superhuman standards.
A leader that makes a practice of knowing and facing truth is rarely afraid of it and often, humble. A leader who helps others to engage with truth in meaningful ways will nurture, grow and encourage others.
Don’t be the kind of leader who works behind closed doors too often, who shifts to the left and the right trying to be all things to all people. Be someone who deals in truth and be true, define what is true and what is real.
The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.
– Max DePree The Art of Leadership