Great Leaders Are Thoughtful and Deliberate, Not Impulsive and Reactive

14 June, 2021

Tony Schwartz and Emily Pines talk about how to improve your capacity to self-observe, to be aware of when we are being reactive and impulsive, as it’s in these moments that we often use our highest cognitive capacities to justify our worst behaviours. For Harvard Business Review.

One of the tools the authors suggest is helpful is to “build small groups that meet at regular intervals so leaders can share their experiences. A blend of support, community, connection and accountability helps offset our shared impulse to stop noticing, push away discomfort, and revert to survival behaviors in the face of perceived threats to our value. A good starting place is to find a colleague you trust to be your accountability partner, and to seek regular feedback from one another.”

At Cranlana we know about the importance of finding ethical allies, and the alumni network is an excellent place to find other leaders who place ethics at the heart of their leadership practice.

Schwartz and Pines say it’s also important to “ask yourself two key questions in challenging moments: “What else could be true here?” and “What is my responsibility in this?” By regularly questioning your conclusions, you’re offsetting your confirmation bias — the instinct to look for evidence that supports what you already believe. By always looking for your own responsibility, you’re resisting the instinct to blame others and play victim and focusing instead on what you have the greatest ability to influence — your own behaviour.”

“A deceptively simple premise lies at the heart of this deliberate set of practices: see more to be more. Rather than simply getting better at what they already do, transformational leaders balance courage and humility in order to grow and develop every day.”

Harvard Buisness Review, by Tony Schwartz and Emily Pines, April 2019. Read the full article here.

Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership’s programs include the 2 day Executive Ethics, 6 day Executive Colloquium and year-long Vincent Fairfax Fellowship. We also deliver online and tailored corporate programs. Find the right program for you. They are all held under the Chatham House Rule to encourage genuine and open debate, and allow participants to candidly discuss sometimes sensitive issues in private while allowing the topic and nature of the debate to be made public, and contribute to a broader conversation. The alumni program offers ongoing leadership development support and a lifelong connection with Cranlana.

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