Can you DISCERN PEOPLE? This could STRENGTHEN or WEAKEN your LEADERSHIP
In our contemporary times, speed, quality and effectiveness is the driving force behind the constant innovation that has produced various devices-cars, gadgets and technologies that drive our world class organizations, systems and our personal lives. Our challenges and limitations have become the necessities that forced the birth of these inventions.
The recognition of our human limitations makes us depend on smart phones, planners, GPS enabled cars, supersonic speed aircrafts, high speed data services to ensure we achieve maximum productivity. However, these tools as good as they are can never replace our DEPENDENCY ON PEOPLE. Matter of factly, our dependence on them makes or breaks our effectiveness.
While God assumes an over-arching indispensability in spite of contrary opinions, our effectiveness is also potentiated by people. Our dependence on them, especially for those at the top and those seeking to get there is a point of vulnerability for our success. As leaders, no matter how smart, capable or intelligent we see seem to be, we still need people. Period!
We need people who possess the competencies we do not have or have it in finer degrees. We also need to have trustworthy people. Our need for people demand that we trust them which creates the need to discern integrity and competence. Your rise and fall as a leader or an aspiring leader will depend on one key competence – your ability to judge and interpret people. How do you get better at spot a rising star, false appearances, lethal adversary or potential key allies is the question.
We must move beyond the common parameters of judging people such as social status, academic success, eloquence and in this day, social media following. External factors such as these only tell a small part of the story. We must give far greater consideration to character and attitude.
As a leader you need to know those to keep at arms length and those to pull close, those to manage with high caution energy and those to trust and rely on 100%. This is because people cannot be assessed based on skill alone. Skills and competencies can be developed. The core of a person is in their character and attitude, something which you have little capacity to influence and that which you need to correctly discern.
THE LEADER’S ULTIMATE 6: Things you MUST look out for when choosing your PEOPLE
While there is no exact science that can accurately read people, our propensity for error can be reduced by observing the following:
Weigh how much they talk against how much they listen. While we should desire people who can confidently express themselves, a listening attitude shows teachability and humility.
You need people who can act and react to task. Some are fast to complain on sight of a new task while some swing into action and problem solving mode. The latter should be your choice.
You need people who are themselves, who don’t need to suck-up. Good people don’t give you false praise or try hard to impress.
4. Condescending attitude
Watch how they treat people beneath them in status – taxi drivers, cleaners, security men. Can they have a kind and real conversation with these people or they shun them?
5. Intellectual curiousity
Observe the books they read. Books enrich perspectives and keeps you abreast of recent developments. Shallow people even when they read focus on soft sells, not materials that promote intellectual growth. People can’t think better than or express creativity beyond the quality of information they regularly absorb.
6. Self Awareness
An intellectual honesty about oneself, strengths and weaknesses is admirable and rare. Watch for humility and congruence between what a person thinks, says and does.
Always bear it in mind as a leader that one of the key measures of your effectiveness is your ability to discern and judge people. Be vigilantly observant!