By Ron Price
We need great leaders more than ever before. There are so many disruptive forces in the world today that without good leadership we will experience more and more instability and anxiety in our lives and work. Some of these disruptions are good, such as the accelerating advances in science and technology. These will bring dizzying changes to the way we live and work over the next ten years. Parallel to these advances for good, we will continue to face significant societal and health challenges that will threaten our peace, prosperity, well-being, and happiness.
Great leaders think things through with clarity, do the right things, and stay focused on serving those they lead. Though these three pillars of great leadership may sound simple, they are far from easy in a world of constant change and evolving threats.
Thinking things through with clarity
To lead well, leaders need to continually grow a number of different thinking skills. These include decision making, problem solving, continuous learning, creativity, planning and organizing, conceptual thinking and futuristic thinking. Each of these skills requires an ever-increasing capacity for clear thinking and leading with logic instead of emotions. Emotions have an important role in great leadership, but never in front of logical, reasoned thinking. Clear thinking comes from having a good grasp of what matters most and a level of emotional intelligence that protects us from unconscious or conscious bias that can cloud our judgment. History is replete with great leaders who exercised this kind of clarity, as well as those who impacted millions of lives for the worse because of distorted or biased thinking.
Doing the right things
To continually do what matters most, great leaders need to build strong skills around leading themselves. The character and expertise necessary to succeed as a leader in today’s world is an ever-increasing call to personal accountability. Great leaders don’t “go with the flow”. Instead, they organize themselves and execute around a few key priorities. They develop a keen balance between staying focused on meaningful goals, while demonstrating flexibility in the constant churn of new contexts. Maybe most important, they build, then draw from, and continually renew their resiliency in order to move upstream in the river of challenges and opportunities they face.
Serving those we lead
Servant leadership is the wise and compassionate exercise of authority for a purpose that transcends self-interest. Great leaders understand the experiences of those they lead, maintain a focus on organizing around and drawing out people’s best capabilities, navigate and balance the myriad interests and conflicts of the stakeholders they serve, and maintain sincere interest and diplomacy in their relationships. They lead this way, not because those they serve deserve it, but because of their uncompromising commitment to their own values and character.
To become a great leader in today’s fast-changing world is a great, ongoing challenge. Being on this journey of becoming a great leader is also a great adventure, full of highs and lows, peak experiences and disappointments. And the harder the climb, the greater the joy as we discover and pursue our greatest potential.
In response to this tremendous need for great leaders, we have developed, tested, improved and deployed The Complete Leader Program since 2014. Every year we learn and measure our results in growing great leaders. We haven’t achieved perfection, but we continue to invest our time, energy and resources to change the world through this program because, today more than ever, we all need to keep becoming great leaders.
I believe this program provides the richest experience and greatest library of resources of any leadership development program in the world today. I realize that is a strong assertion, but growing great leaders is more than business for us—it is our mission and our way of investing in a better tomorrow around the world. Having had participants from 15 countries and in every sector (for-profit, not-for-profit, and government), we have received dozens of testimonials from leaders who told us it was the most impactful leadership growth experience of their lives. For this, I’m a grateful beyond description.
If you are interested in more information about our next program, or to bring a program into your organization, let’s have a conversation. You can reach me at Ron@Price-Associates.com.