Monday, January 16, 2012

Key Leadership Qualities - Perspective

When we speak of perspective in regards to leadership, we're usually talking about the ability to see the big picture; the larger the organization, the more important this quality becomes. It's folly to think that all of us see the world the same way. The truth is we interpret the world through our own lens, based on experience, education, and any number of other factors.

Recognizing this fact is important for those in leadership. To ignore this reality can easily result in misinterpreting the facts and making wrong decisions that can adversely affect the organization. Beyond using your own judgement, process in dicision-making is important. So, here's the question, how do we maintain a proper perspective?

Gather the right people. Who needs to be in the room for you to have as clear a picture as possible of the situation? Consultation should include those who will be the most affected by the decision to be made. It should also include those who have particular expertise in the subject being discussed. I have a number of mentors that I can call on who are gifted or skilled in different areas. Their perspective adds to my own experience.

Get the facts. Knowledge is power. There's nothing worse than making a decision only to find out later that you didn't have all of the information you needed. Sometimes it's necessary to take the time to research; this need grows with the importance of the decision. What do you need to have in front of you in order to do the right thing? Don't be guilty of failing to do your homework.

Ask the right questions. This is about interpretation. Facts may be facts, but they can sometimes be open to interpretation. What do they mean? If you have trendlines moving up or down, the question is why? What are the factors influencing those trends? Are they internal or external? What do you hope to achieve with this decision? What are the benefits? Is the risk worth the reward? Create your own list of questions, who, what, where, when, why and how?

Perspective is really gained by all of these things and more. At the end of the day, it can be developed, but it seems to be another one of those innate gifts. The leader with perspective is able to see the effect of a decision, not just on a department, but on an entire organization. They're also able to see those effects from a long-term, rather than a short-term view. This type of leader is especially valuable because they see what others don't, and that is a huge advantage.

Related Articles:
Key Leadership Qualities - Adaptability
Key Leadership Qualities - Discernment
Are You Teachable?
Iron Sharpens Iron

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