It’s a good time to consider the importance of independent thinking.
There’s a very strong cultural emphasis these days which demands that “we should all think the same way and believe the same things.”
Because, we’re telling you there’s only one right way to see certain issues. So just fall in line, don’t ask any questions, and don’t disrupt the narrative, or you will pay the price.
Seriously? That’s not leadership.
That’s a hopeless attempt to exert power, not influence. Not persuasion. Not love. Care. Or concern.
One retired Marine Corps Colonel told me, “Jerry – when I first entered the Marine Corps, I always told my boss what I thought he wanted to hear. But, once I gained some maturity, and rank, I began to speak my real thoughts. Not disrespectfully mind you … but in a manner that advanced the dialogue, and honed our collective thinking and decision making. We were better for it. It just took a while to get there.”
No one person has perfect thinking. Not a one. Smart people do dumb things all the time.
But the smartest people regularly question themselves, the facts, opinions, and assumption of others, and try to evolve, learn, and do better the next time.
Thinking is complex. Too complex to expect unquestioned agreement.
Thinking is rooted in “Diversity.” Big “D.” Diversity of Thought. Diversity of Opinion. Diversity of Facts. Diversity of Philosophies. Diversity of Values. Diversity of Study, Teaching and Education. Diversity of Life Experiences. Diversity of Spiritual Insights and Belief Systems. Diversity of Emotion and Logic. Diversity of Good and Evil.
With that level of Diversity, we all benefit and help one another.
So What’s A Leader to Do?
Figure out who you are, and what “YOU” believe in. Figure out how your beliefs intersect with the mission of the organization. Figure out how you can promote cooperative effort, and still be yourself. Figure out you don’t have to be afraid of everything, or how other people may perceive or feel about you. Just be the best YOU.
If you figure things out the right way, you’ll figure out the right things to do. And the right ways to do them. And you’ll attract support from those around you, because you’re authentic, not self-serving, but a reasonable, understanding, forgiving, fallible human being.
Leadership is meant to be liberating. And rewarding. And a challenge.
Think about it.
– Jerry Strom
For more information about our leadership and team development programs, please visit http://www.JerryStrom.com . Join the mailing list to receive new articles as they are published. This article is based on leadership research by Jerry Strom & Company, Inc., and random insights as they occur to me.