Living Leadership

Living Leadership

Do the (most) right thing

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Julie Thorson
Julie Thorson

Last time, I wrote about how a 15-second interaction with a team member can make a huge difference. It got me thinking more and more about leadership and how we study and dissect it at length.

I attempt to share leadership wisdom with you regularly. Most days I feel more like a student than a teacher. But I've stumbled onto something this month that I thought was worth sharing. It's very profound, so please pay attention.

Do the right thing, and if you don't know the right thing to do, do what you feel is most right. Stop overthinking it.

There are times I move slowly. I overthink things. I analyze and re-analyze. I let the anticipated reaction or outcome paralyze me from making decisions.

I have great excuses. I'm letting time work its magic, and there are times that works really well.

Ultimately, no matter how much time has passed by, you end up doing what you feel in your “heardt” (my newly created word that combines heart and head) is most right.

Leadership is having the courage to make that decision and accept the consequences of being wrong. Leadership is also about forgiving yourself if you are wrong.

Rinse and repeat.

Do what is most right.

Enjoy if even for a few minutes.

Have courage to forgive yourself if you are wrong.

Move on.

Four simple steps, and yet in practice they are the basis for leadership exhaustion for many. In positions of leadership the burden of the organization's success or failure at the end of the day falls on you. Sure, you may have a great track record of making good decisions; that is perhaps why you are in your position. If it's become easy for you, you may need to rethink your approach.

It should be a challenge. It should be hard. You should wrestle with decisions. Gather input, weigh the options, do the research. In a world of unknowns, you are the one to guide, support and or decide. Even if you aren't directly involved, you are because you have the overall responsibility.

So if you are faced with a decision or problem today that is your decision to make or you are trusting someone else to make the decision, my advice to you is to do the most right thing.

If you do that by trusting your heardt, stand by it. Personally, I may apologize too often when that decision or lack of decision is wrong. We need to forgive ourselves and move on.

Nothing more profound than that this time out. Leadership common sense. The secret is the simplest lessons are in the ones we learn about ourselves. Being open to discover the leadership lessons in every day work is crucial. When you can't see your role in the situation either positive or negative, you've missed something really special. Reflecting on this often, whether it's through journaling or some other form of self-reflection, is necessary in becoming your authentic self as a leader or teammate.

Do what is most right and move on.

Julie Thorson's “Living Leadership” blog was named the 2016 “Best New Department” Bronze Award winner by the American Society of Health Publication Editors. The president and CEO of Friendship Haven, a continuing care retirement community in Fort Dodge, IA, that earned the Governor's Award for Quality under her, Thorson is a coach's daughter at heart. She is a former part-time nursing home social worker who quickly ascended the leadership ranks. Now a licensed nursing home administrator, she has been a participant in LeadingAge's Leadership Academy and LeadingAge Iowa's Mentor of the Year. 

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