August 11, 2011

Be wise than aggressive...

Character is one of the four characteristics of successful leaders. Sometimes, expressing it can take the courage of your convictions



"General Powell, I understand that your wife once suffered from depression, had to take medicine, and was even in a mental hospital. Do you want to comment on that?"

The 8,000-strong audience filling the Dallas Civic Auditorium was aghast. Everyone went quiet. They could hardly believe their ears. Colin Powell then considered a serious contender for the Presidential nomination was delivering a stirring, inspiring keynote address. His audience: a leading residential real estate company's top producers.
He faced an uphill battle with this crowd. They listened politely enough, but you'd be hard pressed to imagine Powell's impact having a lasting effect. After all, these were the best deal makers of a profession not known to be circumspect, but who instead appeared to take pride in their "transaction myopia," namely - find the deal, get the deal, do the deal, next deal.

During the Q&A period, a man asked the above question. Inappropriate is too kind a word for his off-the-wall question. Everyone wondered how Powell would react. Would he be politically correct and say that he was glad the man asked the question to make the point that mental illness should be treated with parity to medical illness? Would he ignore the man? Or would he bring back memories of Edmund Muskie throwing away his presidential hopes 25 years earlier when his wife was similarly attacked, causing the Maine senator to cry?

He looked firmly at the man and responded: "Excuse me sir, the person you love more than anyone is living in hell and you don't do whatever you can to get her out? Do you have a problem with that, sir?" One could hear a pin drop. Everyone felt Powell's values and principles fuse into deeply felt conviction. Talk about leadership! I said to myself, "I would buy a used country from that guy."

Learning from Colin Powell on that day; the incident is one of the best examples for how one can command respect through demonstrating. When you are wise and wrap aggression, it gives you the conviction to stand up to anyone. If in the heat of the moment, you're tempted to react quickly, Instead of doing that, be wise and do the following:

Step 1 Think of the first thing you want to say or do and don't do it (this is about retaliation)

Step 2 Think of the second thing you want to say or do and don't do it (this is about starting a debate)
Step 3 Think about the third thing you want to say or do and do it (this is about finding a solution).

"Your character is the anchor that grounds you, the compass that guides you, and the magnet that draws others to you. Being aware of your character gives you confidence and increases the probability of achieving your desired results."

1 comment:

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