Posted by: Christine Donovan | January 9, 2010

The Number 6 New Year’s Resolution for Leaders

We’re getting closer to the big finish!  

Here is Number 6 of the Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Leaders:

 

 

“It’s not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity.”  — Francis Bacon

6. Stand your ground when your beliefs, integrity and/or intuition (“gut feelings) are on the line

The older I get, the more aware I’ve become of how much fear rules our lives.  Fear of failure, fear of disapproval, fear of making a mistake, fear of embarrassment, fear of not belonging, fear of losing our job, fear of financial disaster, fear of illness, fear of change, fear of loss, fear of looking stupid, fear of being alone, fear of aging… well, you get the idea. 

We are fearful people living in an anxious world.  To quash our fears, we may find ourselves doing questionable things or making stupid decisions.  We put on airs because we fear that others will see our fear; we try to appear confident, successful, decisive. 

In a corporate environment, leaders especially are often fraught with fear.  We’re the ones who have to make tough decisions that can have serious consequences;  we’re expected to motivate, inspire and build team spirit; we’re responsible for staying on time, on budget, on target, etc, etc. 

But we also have the same human needs as our team members:  the need to belong, to be liked, respected and trusted.

So somewhere mixed among all of these fears we may have forgotten about powerful virtues such as integrity and honesty.  We’ve lost who we are and what we believe.  We compromise and sell out ourselves and our values; we’ve gotten out of touch with our personal standards if we ever had them.

Someone once said, “Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.”

Learn to win over your fears and live a life of integrity.  If not, you may be seen as a hypocrite or an apple-polisher, characteristics that breed disrespect from those above as well as those below.  Real leaders have backbones!  Draw your line in the sand and don’t step over it; don’t compromise your standards.

Speak up when necessary; stand your ground when the situation calls for it; protect your staff with strength and uncompromising standards.  There is just no other way to live. There is no other way to lead.

Please come back tomorrow for Number 7:  “Communicate Artfully.”

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