Years ago as a young businessman I had the fortune to live and work in South America. It was new and exciting and a first encounter with working in a wildly different culture and boy did I learn a lot!
My job involved much travel often long journeys in a 4×4 across rough but spectacular scenery. I did not always journey alone and my travelling companions were generally locals. There is only so much scenery you can marvel about so we also spent many hours talking, at times on rather philosophical questions. It was a great help to learning the language.
I recall one conversation with Jose-Luis vividly to this day. We somehow got on to the topic of rule of law… a bit risky given the country. Waxing lyrical about the UK and its history and legal system I prophetically declared that in my country no man was above the law. My colleague quickly replied, ” oh it’s much better here everyone is above the law”
This stopped me in my tracks. It made me think…arrogant idiot. Me that is not Jose-Luis.
Leadership is about not being the arrogant idiot. How often have we taken the high ground in the comfort of our knowledge and experience.
That lesson early in my career taught me how vital it is to engage the brain before the mouth. How important it is to consider the other viewpoint before jumping in with your own. Finally, that arrogance either knowingly or innocent does not gain too much respect.
Respect a most valuable asset has to be earned And it needs to be mutual. With it you can make difficult decisions even when the outcome is painful. You can take your team on some of the toughest journeys and challenges. You can enjoy the successes and fruits of your labours together and when things are not going so well you can be assured you will not be alone.
Without it however, as a leader you are lost.
Fortunately, Jose-Luis broke into a wild smile and we both burst into laughter and no long term harm was done.
So it makes you think … Arrogant idiot