April 10

Leadership is Virtuous, or It’s Not Leadership | WT #47


“Leadership is Virtuous, or It’s Not Leadership.”

This is a quote from a colleague, Alexandre Havard, that I frequently share.

Why? I’ve worked with dozens of business leaders through times of crisis to

  1. keep team members,
  2. retain clients, and
  3. sharpen strategy.

You see, what most business leaders often do when a crisis hits is, in knee-jerk fashion, retreat into their corners and abandon leadership (moving people forward) for management (moving things forward).

They do it by casting integrity aside, thinking small instead of big, and deviating from core strategy instead of sticking to it. In other words, they DISINTEGRATE (ironically, at a time when integrity is most important).

Instead, what they should do is focus on long-term decision making. How? Double-down on leadership. Here are a few examples from my experience:

  1. Offer team members the option to over-draw on their PTO, by up to 80 hours.
  2. Furlough folks 1v1 instead of ‘en masse’, sooner rather than later, and clearly communicating everything you can do to improve their condition, considering the circumstances, such as make professional development opportunities available.

The Relationship Between Leadership, Integrity, and Virtue

You practice virtue to build integrity or authority that’s authoritative, not authoritarian. Integrity is integritas in Latin. It is the state of being complete, undivided or unimpaired. Leadership is being at your best in all pillars of your life (spouse, parent, business colleague, friend, community member, spirituality) especially when things are tough.

Lastly, it is times of adversity that test your commitment to these principles. 


About the author 

Darren Smith

Darren Smith is Co-Founder of the Authentic Leadership Institute. He is a native Texan and a graduate of Dallas Jesuit and Texas A&M University. Over the past 25 years, Darren has visited 35 countries and led 100 strategy programs. He and his wife have five children.


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