Good Leaders Rise above Adversity and Bad Breaks

Leaders have to deal with whatever adversity and bad breaks impacts them and the people they lead. That’s part of what leaders do and are expected to do. When misfortune does strike, good leaders will move to quickly identify the source of the problem and implement either an immediate remedy or develop a plan to deal with a longer term situation. In either case, good leaders will find the time to make an informed decision by soliciting input from as many of their employees as possible given time constraints. If the problem demands an immediate fix and there is no time for collaboration, then good leaders will not hesitate to make the decision and then ensure that their employees are informed of the decision, plan of action, and that the need for immediate action negated any collaboration. The important point here is that leaders need to create an environment and culture that values an inclusive and collaborative approach to handling adversity and decision- making. Doing so will unify leadership and employees into a cohesive force that will be able to collectively rise above any adversities. It’s in everyone’s best interests to work together to find sound solutions.
Poor leaders on the other hand will not be comfortable with such a culture of collaboration because it will be seen as a constraint on their personal power as “the boss” to make the decisions. In this case, bosses can become overwhelmed by the volume of problems and issues that leaders have do deal with on a daily basis. Very often by the time a problem is brought to the attention of the leader, it is already at a crisis mode and without a culture of collaboration, poor leaders will simply make decisions without consulting anyone outside their inner circle of confidants. The workforce will be informed of the decision as fait accompli. Furthermore, employees watch how their leaders personally react to adversity. They want to follow someone who doesn’t over react, make ever thing into a crisis when in fact it is not, and can remain calm when confronted by difficult problems. Good leaders recognize that while employees will listen to their words, they will follow their actions. And good employees will understand that even the best of leaders can have a bad day or make some bad decisions even with collaboration and a strong relationship with their employees. Leaders should be judged on their body of work over time and not on one instance.
Paul Okum has 40 years’ experience with the Federal Government in the Departments of Transportation, Interior, Army, and Defense in leadership positions, including being a US Army officer and a human resources director. Mr. Okum has written “Leadership DNA,” a provocative and useful guide book about identifying, selecting, and developing natural born leaders. This book describes the art of leadership including how to deal with poor managers that can cripple an organization.
For more information about Paul Okum and Leadership DNA, visit

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2 Responses to Good Leaders Rise above Adversity and Bad Breaks

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