Empower With Decency

Some factors are crucial to the continued and growing success of organizations. One factor I find wields more effect than almost all others combined is empowering talent with purpose, competencies, and enabling technologies—emphasis on “almost all.” In my experience, almost nothing is as effective in improving performance and results—emphasis on “almost nothing.” There is one factor that outperforms even purpose, competencies, and enabling technologies. It’s human decency.

First on the To-Do List of great leaders is ensuring 100% of the leadership team is decent. That means the leadership team—down to the last man, woman, and (these days) algorithm—must be right-minded, right-hearted, and right-focused. Great leaders (and their leadership teams) strive to be honorable. They care about others. They want to work with others to make the world a better place.

Decent, right-minded leaders have sound views and principles. They’re both aspiring and reality-based. They operate from a “greater good” mindset. They care enough about others to know who—not just what—they’d be willing to die for. They value people not over profit, but rather as the purpose of profit.

Decent, right-hearted leaders concern themselves with aligning organizational mission with the wellbeing of others. They appreciate and advocate for the ever-growing role others could and should play in the grand scheme of things. They suffer and celebrate the setbacks and successes of those around them. And they protect others from attack, disregard, and exploitation—even if offering that protection carries an enormous personal and professional cost.

Decent, right-focused leaders know what they want to do, yet ask daily what needs to be done. If they have competencies that are sufficient for the task, they do what needs to be done—even if it doesn’t align with what they want to do. If they don’t have the needed competencies, they develop those competencies just in time or delegate to others with immense respect, enduring gratitude, and selfless empowerment.

If we’re serious about improving performance, then we’d better be serious about decency. Great leaders are decent. They empower talent with purpose, competencies, and enabling technologies through decency—and with decency as the overriding objective. And this empowered decency—above all else—leads to the continued and growing success of their organizations.

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