I learnt an important business lesson this evening during a conversation with Enactus UK Alumni mentor Hannah Page, Louise Wilkinson (Business Advisor to Enactus Leeds) and Heleni Lindsell (vice president of Enactus Leeds Met). You must always have someone in the leadership team to act as a counterbalance when you make important decisions.
A counterbalance is something or someone that helps balance the load/decision making process. Without one side of the equation in place, the other side simply wouldn’t remain balanced.
In business I am a rational thinker. This means I wholeheartedly believe in logic over emotions when it comes to making key decisions,
However, when working alongside the team at Enactus Leeds Met I have discovered that my rational thinking doesn’t always help bring out the best in the volunteers.
On the other hand, people such as Iulia Popa (web presence manager at Enactus Leeds Met) can be there to counterbalance my rational, unemotional decision making with empathetic, thoughtful decision making.
But does the counterbalance effect I describe help make me an effective business leader?
“Strength and wisdom are not opposing values”
Bill Clinton was in my opinion right to define strength and wisdom as equal values rather then opposing.
My personal perspective on this quote is that whilst we can be detached business leaders who always make the big decisions on a rational basis, we should take more time to learn from those with a greater level of wisdom then us.
As part of the Enactus learning experience I am starting to realise that whilst I am a highly rational and unemotional thinker, I could learn a thing or two from others with a greater level of wisdom and knowledge that I currently possess right now.
Frankly, I am now starting to acknowledge that in order to become an effective business leader I need to be able to combine rationality with a small dose of empathy and understanding to make more competent decisions.
I am not interested, neither am I fully capable of becoming 100% empathetic towards people in business, but I do need to learn the importance of being a little more considerate when motivating and inspiring others,
You Can’t Always Be Right
As Louise Wilkinson told us at tonight’s meeting, “You can’t always be right. You need someone to bounce ideas off,”
Now I am an independent person who can often discard others ideas without much thought. But to become a successful business leader I have to be ready to admit I am wrong more often then I do now.
That’s where someone in a leadership team can counterbalance my thinking and say to me “Hey Josh, have you really considered your decision properly?”
I have individuals in Enactus who are constantly asking me that question. I am so grateful they do because it is helping me to learn the importance of really considering why I am deciding something.
It’s only when you stop and think about why you are making a decision that you realise, “Oh, I may be wrong on this occasion”.
The real difference comes when you admit the mistake publicly to others in your team. That’s what makes a more effective team leader.
I think that if you are a rational thinker who wants to be more successful in business, you have to acknowledge the importance of having a counterbalance in your team and always being willing to admit the mistake.