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The Golden Rule of Effective Leadership and Management

The Golden Rule of Effective Leadership and Management

The Golden Rule of Leadership and Management

Question:
Is there one rule, one thing that makes the biggest difference, to your abilities as a leader and manager: Is there a Golden rule of effective leadership and management.

Answer: Yes.

Question: What is it?

Answer: The golden rule is this: "Act always in accordance with the principles of reason".

Or to put it more simply: Be reasonable.

Be reasonable: Now that does not seem too hard. But acting reasonably means many things, and "act reasonably" also implies the following injunction: "Never act unreasonably!"

"Never act unreasonably!" implies the following.

Don't act on impulse. Don't act in anger. Don't act out of spite. Don't act out of revenge. Don't act out of unfounded fears.
And act always according to the principles of reason implies: Out of laziness, don't fail to act. Out of procrastination, don't fail to act. Don't fail to make a decision out of fear of making a wrong one.

And act always according to the principles of reason implies: Don't guess. Don't follow the majority opinion, just because it is the majority opinion. Instead, think it through step by step.

Think it through rationally

Remember that the ability to reason is what makes the difference between you and a chimpanzee.

Remember that the ability to reason is what gives human beings their uniqueness. We are the only animal on the planet that specialise in reasoning. Reasoning is what makes us uniquely human.

It is our ability to reason; to think things through logically, to infer abstract conclusions from the evidence of the senses that makes us human. The ability to reason has led to the development of Philosophy, Mathematics, Economics, Politics, Ethics, Psychology and Science.

Without the ability to reason, you would be incapable of functioning beyond the level of a chimpanzee. And the greater your powers to reason, and your willingness to reason, the greater will be your effectiveness in all realms. And especially in the realm of leadership and management.

A commitment to Reason, a commitment to logic and a commitment to think things through systematically and objectively, is the one thing that would make the biggest difference. Especially when combined with a commitment to avoid the non-rational elements listed above; (not acting emotionally, or not acting irrationally, or not acting at all).

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What does it mean to act rationally?

Reason has many aspects. Reason has many facets.
There are many applications of reason: here are some of the main ones.
Reason means: For everything you do and say, always have a reason.

1. Always have a reason:

This means always act for a specific purpose. Make every action consistent with a named goal, or purpose. Before you agree to take any action, make sure that you or the person asking you to do something, can answer the question: What for?

Never act in an arbitrary, random manner. Have a purpose, a reason, for everything you do.

Never accept arbitrary action. Ask the others "For what purpose are you doing that?"

2. Always have a reason:

This means always act in response to named causes.

As noted above, some actions are intended to achieve a purpose. In addition, to purposeful action there are some actions that are in response to causes. Causes are events that have happened in the past, and require a response.

So notice that reason contains two subsets.

  1. Reasoned action: Action to achieve a future goal. Purposeful action. (In answer to the question, What for?)
  2. Reasoned action: Action in response to a past event. Caused action. (In answer to the question, Why?)

3. Reasoning means the ability to think logically

This again contains two subsets:

  • Reasoning deductively
  • Reasoning inductively

Reasoning inductively means piecing together the facts properly, in order to arrive at a valid conclusion. Reasoning inductively, means to think like a detective and to put the evidence together to discover the identity of the murderer. Reasoning inductively means to think like Miss Marple or Sherlock Holmes.

Reasoning deductively means applying existing knowledge to particular instances. For example you might say, "All risky activities require a risk assessment. Climbing onto the roof is a risky activity. Therefore; Climbing onto the roof requires a risk assessment.

4. Reasoning means: to distinguish between a reason and an excuse, for not doing something

Question: is there a difference between a reason for not doing something, and an excuse for not doing something.

Answer: yes.

Question: What is that difference? What are the characteristics of those stories that are reasonable, and how do they differ from those excuses, that are invalid and which you would not accept as justifiable.

That is an excellent question.

It is a question that you need to be able to answer if you are a leader or a manager. Yet many people struggle to answer this question.

What is the difference between a reason and an excuse?

So you can see that reason is a key concept.

If you want to know more about a rational approach to leadership and management, please attend our two day leadership and management programme.

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