Choosing a Leader

Did you catch the Republican Presidential Debate last night?  I thought one of the more interesting questions dealt with the candidate’s plans to turn the country around – not their specific jobs plans, but the candidate’s underlying principles.  The candidates who got the most positive crowd response talked about competent leadership.


The environment was defined by the audience belief that we are in a time of crisis.  Unemployment, recession, political gridlock, market fluctuation and the housing bubble have all contributed to a feeling of uncertainty and concern.  When people feel they are confronted with crisis they are drawn to competence.  The trappings of office, likeability or fancy titles mean nothing.  When their personal well being is on the line, people will follow someone who knows what to do.

Lesson for All

The lesson is that effective leaders exude competence.  There will always be crisis.  Effective leaders will sometimes create a crisis environment to promote their efforts at transformational leadership (but that’s a topic for another day).  In Extremis Leadership builds on this premise.  Crisis creates a quest for competence.

Got Competence?

Do you have it?  Do you demonstrate it?  Do you build that capability in your subordinate leaders in order to strengthen your organization?  Will people confidently turn to you when they feel threatened?  If not, then you better get you some (competence).

Please comment: how do you build your competence?




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