Monday, November 30, 2009

Acting when leadership is questioned ...

How must a leader act when his or her leadership is questioned? As a leader your leadership will be questionsed, especially during times of difficulty, when tough decisions need be made, when the world screams, the media writes you off, and popular opinion is against you. But true leaders need to see the wood from the trees and  and give solid direction whilst listenng to the pulse of your people. As a wise man said "To set your course by the stars in the sky and NOT by the lights of passing ships".

Malcolm Turnbull the current leader of Liberal Party probably is asking him self this question as he finds him self in tough territory with the noise of his party against the proposed ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) vote in the senate. Turnbull to his credit has stuck by his principles of supporting his negotaited agreement with the government on the ETS vote. In his belief it is vital action is taken, and action taken now to reduce pollution, green house gasses, and its many impacts including global warming.

Politics is tough business, while in any team you have your detractors, in politics they will be viscious and corrosive, significantly more than in any other profession. In the case of Turnbull, a few dicidents created so much noise over an emotive topic, over such an extended period even Turnbull's supporters seemed to have got softened and rolled over by the loud calls for a "NO" vote by the liberals on the ETS and now his removal.

Turnbull in this case as a leader has showed guts, like few leaders in politics have shown in recent times. However in the process he has made mistakes, he has come to alienate himself due to his inability to continue to be the inclusive team man while being the strong leader. In leadership today it is vital for the leader to be soft as much as he/she is strong... it is vital to understand the pulse, certainly the temperature and act accordingly and inclusively, especially in tough times when tough calls are made. To appoint those capable to help you in doing what is required to give a voice and to marshal the troops, so to ensure the troops are not marshalled in a different a course due to the divisiveness these decisions invariably create. Turnbull in my mind failed the latter this softer part, where a strong leader remains strong, yet is soft enough and humble enough to marshal the troops with understanding in tough times with a team that provides support to members who are at either end of the continuum.

It is  particularly important to reassure those who are on the fence, if not they will wilt to pressure and tilt the balance. If this important aspect of leadership is missed, execution will suffer every time, no matter where, in sport, in business, and in public life.

Making tough decisions is the mark of a good leader, carrying the troops through tough times with understanding and humility is even more vital and is also the job of the leader. If not great vision, great intelligence & great policy will always be stymied by those who can make the loudest noise.

Dinesh De Silva can help your organisations with business growth and business transformation related services (talks, training & strategies) by bringing new and innovative thinking, whilst helping you and your people achieve success. You may contact Dinesh by leaving a comment below or via twitter @dineshdesilva or LinkedIn (dineshdesilva)

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