The Ultimate Measure of Leadership (part 3 of 6)

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

-Galileo Galilei-


Depending only on oneself for the answers lacks depth and fullness…


  1. Lives Values
  2. Empowers Others
  3. Asks for feedback, ideas, comments
  4. Directs the Course
  5. Effectively Communicates
  6. Responds

“There is no such thing as a dumb question.”  How many times have we heard that statement?  How many times have we quoted that statement?  How many times do we actually live that statement?

An effective leader needs to be humble enough to know that they do not have all the answers. In fact, unless one is an absolute savant, they most likely do not have the answers only within themselves.  Leaders are idea generators and can see potential solutions from a larger perspective but to be able to move great ideas into great actions, as Stephen R. Covey stated, one needs to “seek first to understand and then to be understood.”

I am working with my team to develop a specialized team within our department.  I am absolutely convinced that this idea will bring forth fantastic results once we get the structure and processes in place.  I know that this is a great idea and I also know that I do not know what I do not know.  What might make total sense to me from my view, may not make sense to my team (and I am sure my team can give you a bazillion examples of when that has occurred).

I knew that the first step I needed to take was to properly vet (not the folks who care for your pet kind of vet) my idea with my managers to make sure they gave me their honest feedback. If they did not believe in this vision,  there is no way  their teams would “buy in” and this idea would ultimately fail.  I met with each of my five managers individually to first hear their thoughts and once I was confident that my leadership team was on board, we met collectively as a group to develop a plan for implementation.  One of the key components in our plan is to get the team members together (those who will be part of this new specialized group) to get their opinions and ideas on how best to get this new team and processes off the ground.

I am confident that what was once only an idea,  will soon become  reality.   A reality because I took the time to share my idea, ask the questions and finally, to listen for and hear the comments and the feedback (good, bad and/or the ugly).

Do you think there are any times where a leader must move forward on a decision without obtaining feedback or ideas from others (legal reasons, ethical reasons etc.)?

2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Measure of Leadership (part 3 of 6)

  1. Hi Pat,
    This post is exactly what I was getting at with the myth of “leading from within”–if you were doing that in the way I have seen so many others do it, you would not be “seeking first to understand, then to be understood,” or, critically, involving your team in the process of shaping the future.

    I’m looking forward to hearing how things transpire.

    Continued success,

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