Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.
Willa A. Foster
As we look at what is happening around the world in the public sector and the private, the challenges before us are significant and many. When we look to leaders, we have the right to ask, “Do they have what it takes to lead?” We can only hope that our leaders have the competence, will, and sense of hope that we can address our challenges. Leaders are called to develop the competence of their people. Competence is not just about aptitude; it is also about attitude. Competence is, like leadership itself, a combination of what we can do and how we go about doing it. We have to ask ourselves the same question, “Do I have what it takes to lead?” Since we lead by example, if we want to develop the competence of our people, we are the starting point. We must grow our own competence first.
In a previous posting, I wrote about Purpose. I suggested that having a sense of purpose is about finding the courage to imagine and pursue valued goals. Competence then is all about having the capacity to get the job done! We feel competent when we can freely imagine, start, and finish a task in a way that is deemed satisfactory by ourselves and by others. I would suggest that you are in the position you are because you have the competence to succeed. The challenge for each of us is remembering that and continually growing that capacity to succeed.
In the face of extreme challenges, it is possible for flashes of doubt to influence our behavior. When this happens, we experience inertia; we have energy but we remain stuck in neutral by our feelings of inferiority. We lack the capacity to focus our energy and think and act in an industrious and productive way. We do not feel competent. When we face extreme challenges – like those many are facing this year, we can forget what we are good at and we can stop focusing on growing ourselves. Leadership development is one of the first things jettisoned in a down economy. It is considered a luxury. Nothing could be further from the truth – and the most prudent path. Now is always the right time for some self-reflection and self-affirmation to remind ourselves that we have what we need to succeed! Great leaders are always open to and engaged in the personal and professional development. As the man says, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.”