Focused Leadership is a book which provides you a synopsis of the approach I diligently crafted, refined and applied in order to get the leadership results I desired over my 30-year career leading large and small organization in Fortune 500 companies as well venture capital backed start-ups. In Focused Leadership I have incorporated a series of informative and concise discussions regarding my leadership approach, which I now call the “10-Step Approach to Leading and Winning”.
Step 8: Have the Courage to Make the Right Decisions
One of my favorite leadership quotes is one that is attributed to Winston Churchill. It states, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
Throughout my career, I have been both a practitioner and a student of leadership. I have read almost every book on leadership that I have been able to get my hands on. Most of the contemporary literature on leadership focuses on leadership styles, characteristics, principles, traits, models, etc. Much of the literature offers a great deal of historical insight, comparisons and advice. However, what I have found to be most intriguing is how the virtue of “courage” seems to be omnipresent. Aristotle once called courage the first virtue and alluded to the fact that courage is the virtue which makes all of the other virtues possible.
I believe that in addition to being the most important human virtue, when it comes to organizational performance and success --- courage is also the most important virtue of an effective leader.
The reason I have been such a fan of the Winston Churchill quote mentioned above is that I have learned that in the context of leadership, courage is both a “verb” and a “conjunction.” It takes a certain brand of courage to execute both the “gives” and the “takes” required to get the best results for the entire organization. Effective team and organizational leadership is about being able to synergistically blend talent and get the most out of diverse human experiences. In order to make this approach to leadership work for everyone involved, you must possess the brand of “courage” that allows you to not only fearlessly “stand up and speak” but to also fearlessly “sit down and listen.”
In addition, Focused Leadership is characterized by an intense focus on decision making which complements this brand of courage. As leaders, we are not strangers to decision making. However, we all find ourselves, at times, faced with the need to make a decision that is right for our team but challenging for others (and maybe ourselves) to swallow. I can recall scores of decisions I have made over my career which fall into this category. They all, at the time, seemed to take on the dimensions of “life or death” decisions. However, in hindsight, I recall that every decision that landed “on the side of the team as a whole” turned out to be the right decision.
As a part of your effort to become a more effective leader, you should strive to have the brand of courage required to make decisions that are best for your team and your organization’s success.
HAVE THE COURAGE TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS
Earl Cobb is the author of "Focused Leadership: What You Can Do Today to Become a More Effective Leader", and an American “rags-to-riches” success story. Through his hard work, dedication and faith, Earl has forged an accomplished career as a systems engineer, project/program manager, and gifted entrepreneur. He is also a highly respected senior management executive. He has enjoyed over twenty-five years of success within Fortune 100 companies including Honeywell, Inc., Motorola, Inc. and Wells Fargo Bank. He is the former President and CEO of MedContrax, Inc.
You can contact Earl at earl@richerlifellc. You can find his website at www.richerlifellc.com