I’m reading an interesting book about learning humility and inner strength, written by an ex Navy Seal. The book is called The Heart and the Fist The education of a humanitarian, the making of a Navy Seal by Eric Greitens.
The overall message is one of courage and compassion. These two things live in all of us. In leadership roles sometimes we find ourselves being divided between when to be directive and when to be facilitating. Leadership is not an all-or-nothing dilemma.
Some managers think that, by adopting a position as a courageous change agent, charging ahead fearlessly to win the ultimate prize of success, they will be recognized as great leaders.
Others try to adopt a more compassionate approach always deferring to the consensus of the group, making sure that no one feels left out. They run the risk of losing valuable time and opportunities.
The essential skill for leaders is to know when to use strength and when to use compassion.
In my journey with cancer there were times I had to fight the demons of doubt and fear and be courageous. There were times I had to be kind to myself, and those around me, otherwise I would not have survived.
When we understand the meaning of our leadership role, the needs of those around us and the responsibilities to the company and community, we can better understand when to be strong and when to be soft. We do need both in order to be trusted and respected and to make a lasting contribution to the world around us.
I help leaders uncover their strengths and courage while exploring their compassion and understanding for those who rely on them for results and for retention. Contact me if you see your leaders choosing one characteristic over the other.