Courageous Leaders

Courageous Leaders – By Arnie Wohlgemut

Vince Molinaro wrote in his book The Leadership Contract: “Let’s face it: Leadership is hard work, and it’s getting harder. To truly excel, to truly be a great leader over the long term, you must have the courage and persistence to do the hard work of leadership.”

On the surface this seems like a no brainer.  Work environments are getting more complicated, technology is advancing and demographics are changing. Traditional work habits are being changed by so many forces it’s hard to keep track.

So where does the notion of courage and persistence fit in?

I believe courage and persistence is essential, everyday.

Early in my career, I was managing an team of about 20 trades and supervisors for a local board of education and we were facing a new issue. The workload for some unknown reason was dropping fast. The number of service requests were in sharp decline. I assembled my supervisors and we collectively agreed to implement a planned maintenance program.

Believing I could implement this plan I shared it with my division manager, however, it was not well received – in short, we were told it was a poor plan and a political risk. So, these plans were shelved.

About a month later my team and I reviewed the workload and decided that we either down size or implement a pilot of the planned maintenance program.

The pilot was launched in two schools – it was a huge success. All the small things that normally were considered too minor for a service request were being fixed, staff were productive and the principals were pleased. Even the division manager supported it after receiving such positive feedback!

If it wasn’t for the courage and persistence of my supervisory team, jobs would have been lost and small maintenance items would eventually become expensive emergencies or real eye sores.

You see, as leaders, we can acquiesce to small thinking or discouragement. We can walk when we hit a wall.

Or we can be bold, courageous and persistent, leading for the good of the corporation, our team and those we serve.