Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The "Leadership Stuff"

 In March I wrote the following blog entitled - The Right Stuff:
 In the March 4th edition of the Washington Post, Dan Balz has an excellent column in which he poses the question “Does Gingrich have what it takes?”  He frames the question based upon Gingrich’s strengths and weakness and how these characteristics could impact his ability to run and win the Presidency of the United States.  He closes the article with a great question.  “Does Gingrich have the discipline required of all successful presidential candidates – the discipline to keep his focus, to avoid meaningless fights, to ignore barbs from his critics, to show statesmanship?”
These are questions all leaders should keep in mind on a daily basis.  What am I trying to cause?  What am I willing to sacrifice to achieve the objective?  Am I disciplined and focused enough on the overall plan and the daily tasks to ensure success?  How do I handle criticism, doubt, and setbacks?
Clarity, thoughtfulness, self awareness, situational awareness, commitment, discipline, and action must be created by leaders to achieve difficult objectives. 
Gingrich's campaign has faltered, his senior staff resigned over questions of strategy, direction, Gingrich's commitment,  and lifestyle.  When the people closest to you quit due to conflicts regarding basic leadership principles, you're not ready to be President.  
Gingrich failed in his time away from politics to improve himself, and in doing so, his ability to lead.  He is human and consequently, his greatest strengths are also his greatest weaknesses.  As leaders evolve, they acquire personal mastery to enable their strengths to serve themselves in order to serve others.  Gingrich did not grasp the commitment or the discipline required to inspire his team.  Many will say this is not surprising based on his past; I think it serves as an example for us all that we need to challenge ourselves to work diligently to master ourselves before we are ready to ascend to key leadership positions in service of others - whether these leadership positions are in our families, careers, local communities, or national stage.  Mastery of self is the daily quest of every leader dedicated to service. 

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