Clear and Present Leadership

Years ago this country ran on words. When the president or the Supreme Court said something, they chose their words very carefully. There is a wonderful chapter in Do I Make Myself Clear? which describes the multiple drafts that FDR went through before picking the word infamy. Legal arguments still chose their words carefully, even if the rest of government and society does not, and the courts have a track record of using multiple terms to surround and define another term or concept. Separate but equal. Search and seizure. Speedy and public. Cruel and Unusual. Keep and Bear. Clear and Present

It is useful to adopt this practice when trying to model something very complex, such as love or leadership. For example: Love is active and forgiving.

I think that good leadership is clear and present.

Clear

Present

When I’ve screwed up as a leader it has been a lack of clarity or presence. Why have I done this? Another truth related to leadership is that all leadership flows from character. Every time I’ve done wrong or less than I could have as a leader it has been a character weakness, either temporary or an ongoing struggle.

Here are some examples of how weak character lead to a lack of clarity:

Character can make you not present as well:

As leaders, we all are learning and trying to get better. Being clear and present are simple ways I can remember to improve the way I lead.