Leading With Conviction

The other day, I was watching the Detroit Tigers/Boston Red Sox game, and during the third inning, the announcers were talking with the Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Matt Manning. They asked Matt what he meant when he said that pitchers should pitch with conviction. Matt stated that pitchers need to “have confidence in their pitches – that they will go where they need to.” Matt’s statement led me to think of the idea of leading with conviction. We need to have confidence in our leadership. However, there is a fine line between leading with conviction and leading with humility. 

Webster’s Dictionary defines conviction as, “a strong persuasion or belief.” Leadership is not for the weak. Weak leadership leads to a lack of vision and progress. Weak leadership is easily persuaded, which can take a company/organization in a devastating direction. Leadership needs to be strong. It needs to care less about what people think and more about doing the right thing. Leadership needs to focus on the vision and mission of the company/organization, rather than acquiescing to every public outcry. Leadership needs to stand strong in their beliefs and lead with the conviction of those beliefs. However, here is where the fine line begins. A sign of weak leadership is leadership whose convictions lead to pride and arrogance. These are dangerous and destructive characteristics. Leadership that is not humble or people focused will do more harm than good to any company/organization. 

This leads to asking the question, “With what convictions should we lead?”. Leadership is about serving others and having a positive impact on those we influence. This is why leadership is not a title or a position. Leadership is a way of life, and our convictions are what will determine our quality of leadership. If we are to lead with conviction, we need to make sure our convictions lead to effective, quality leadership.

Convictions to lead by:

  1. People First

First, we need to have the conviction that our team, our people, come first. Simon Sinek said, “Leadership leads people; not results.” This means that we need to focus on our people if we are to gain the results we are looking for. People are the hub of any company/organization, and if people aren’t taken care of, listened to, or invested in, then the company/organization will suffer. Our focus needs to be on supporting, encouraging, and empowering our team. 

  1. Stay Humble

Humility must be the foundation in which we build our leadership. Without humility, struggles are sure to ensue. As the proverb states, “Pride comes before the fall.” If we lead with an arrogant, prideful attitude, we alienate our team and hinder forward progress. If we are unable to admit our faults and failures and be willing to learn from our mistakes, then our leadership will be stiffened, and little progress will be made. Humility is a key component to leadership.

  1. Work Hard

I read a post the other day that said, “Work in silence and let your results do the talking.” In leadership, working hard is a must. It is crucial that leadership stay focused, work hard, and make sacrifices to ensure success for their team. Leadership should never be looking for the easy road or to find shortcuts. If we want our team to work hard and stay focused, then we must be the example we want to see in our team. Hard work is key to success.

  1. Be Disciplined 

Jocko Willink says, “Discipline equals freedom.” When it comes to leadership, without discipline there is no mission or vision. There is no forward progress. Discipline is about doing the hard stuff even when you don’t want to do it. Discipline is about setting goals for ourselves and our team and doing everything in our power to obtain said goals. Leadership needs to be disciplined in doing what’s right, leading with integrity, being humble, and working hard. Be disciplined in leading with conviction.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of convictions to lead by. However, these are, what I believe to be, the foundational convictions with which we should start. Selfless leadership is purposeful leadership, and unless we have a strong foundation of convictions from which to lead from, our leadership will be ineffective. Lead with convictions that focus on bettering others and yourself.

As always, stay humble and serve well!

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