Friday, September 4, 2009

We should never question leadership – should we?

Valkyrie movie posterThe movie Valkyrie (2008) increased my faith in human beings. I never quite understood how an entire nation under the leadership of one man could carry out such horrific acts. The film, based on actual events, is about a plot to assassinate Hitler during the height of WWII. Through this film, I learned that this was only one of many failed attempts to eliminate Hitler.

Under Hitler, the majority simply obeyed and executed their orders with excellence completely ignoring any conscience or moral convictions that were within them. They did things right. A small minority of men and women did everything they could to stop the atrocities – many giving their lives in the process. This would have been incredibly hard to do drawing upon unimaginable courage. They did the right thing.

Great leaders stand by their convictions and do not compromise their values, beliefs and integrity – they will question and / or oppose decisions that they believe are wrong.

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. Albert Einstein

Of course, most of us will never face the life and death decisions like those described above, but the same principles apply to everyday leadership / management decisions. The cornerstone of leadership is humility. Leaders that exhibit humility are also prepared to accept questions or challenges themselves from those who are following them.

The next time someone constructively questions a decision or direction, be sure to value his or her courage for asking, to the extent, that he or she would not hesitate to do it again in the future.


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