Has your leadership vision ever been opposed? I would dare say that if it hasn’t, it may not be a very compelling or bold vision. This statement isn’t meant to judge you or cause you embarrassment, merely to challenge you to rethink your vision. Because this much is certain…
…A leader’s vision will be opposed, challenged, criticized and otherwise debated. This is actually a healthy reaction. It’s the action you take after your vision has been opposed that really matters.
Currently, I am reading a fascinating book about Winston Churchill I discovered over the weekend on the bookshelf of a friend’s house. You see, I follow my own advice of Developing Me As A Better Leader which happens to be the 2nd strategy I discuss in my book Success In The C-Suite. Reading biographies of strong leaders helps to keep me sharp in my field. But I digress…
One of the points made in this book is Churchill knew and experienced true leadership naturally generates opposition and criticism. In fact, he took opposition and criticism as confirmation of a correct vision or course of action. The author complimented Churchill by valuing criticism as much if not more than praise.
What can you as a leader do when you experience the opposition? Remember, if you are not experiencing opposition, the vision may not be compelling or audacious enough. Success In The C-Suite provides a number of tactics and actions you can consider and apply.
As Jim Collins says, leaders “must create a climate where the truth is heard and the brutal facts are confronted.” Those who tell the truth are not necessarily those who are classified as the opposition. Extraordinarily successful leaders know the difference.
“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisors bring success” is an old proverb that holds the best vision develops among leaders, not within one leader. As you allow this to happen, the others have an opportunity to refine, define and supplement the vision you are creating. This produces a better vision and as importantly, produces buy in and commitment from others simply because they had the real opportunity to weigh in. This is powerful.
Last week, I attended a conference (yes, that’s another way I contribute to my own development as a Leadership Coach) and one of the speakers asked a brilliant question of the 600 senior executives and business owners in the room: “Do you have outside insight to keep you on track”? So, my question to you is, Who do you rely on for the outside insight so necessary for your success as a leader?
Photo by: Jonathon Colman