Like many I have been following with interest the current fiasco that has brought the U.S. Senate to a standstill. Regardless of your political preferences there are some interesting dynamics at play that have reminded me of the importance of being an agile leader. You see there are two predominant leadership approaches which leader employ:
Lead by Principle: Making decisions and taking actions that are built from and support foundational beliefs.
Lead by Cognition: Processing information, applying knowledge and changing behaviors and preferences based on shifting environmental factors and information.
One approach is very stable, while the other is very nimble and flexible. A successful leader propels from one approach to the other depending on the circumstance presented to them.
I recall working with a Vice President several years ago who consistently applied the lead by cognition style, changing his mind continuously. Of course there were some benefits to this behavior, but unfortunately the longer employees were exposed to his style, the more disembodied they became from the organizations vision, mission and overall direction. I spent some time working with this Vice President helping him to gain clarity on the specific principles the organization and he himself worked under, allowing for the injection of building blocks or principles if you will upon which cognition could be applied.
So my question for you is this. Are you an agile leader? Are your decisions and feedback built upon principles yet made in cognition? If the US Senate was able to make this collective shift I believe we would have less of a disagreement and greater overall momentum.
© Shawn Casemore 2013. All rights reserved.
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