‘Fast & Loose’ is usually ‘One & Done.’

It’s hard to know at what point so many Leaders became scoundrels more interested in the short-term, rather than the long-term win. Maybe it’s been happening for awhile and I’ve just not paid enough attention.

What I do know is that ‘fast and loose’ (or flying by the seat of your pants) is rampant today in just about every environment, especially in Politics and in the Executive Suite. Someone has an insight of some kind, gets lucky, convinces enough others around them of their brilliance, and begins amassing power. It doesn’t matter that they’re surrounded by more logic than they care to acknowledge. Why? Because they’ve become masters at the glib remark, the sarcastic smirk, or the cutting retort made to someone they know isn’t equipped to respond. They turn everything into a status-fueled game of chance; one in which they’re more willing to gamble than anyone else.

This kind of leadership is usually done out of fear, and, ironically, the ‘fast and loose’ approach only makes things worse by creating even more fear. That fear takes the form of a fight for survival, where everyone is just looking out for themselves.

So, what’s the alternative?

I think there are many. How about actually knowing what you’re talking about, having done the homework, being able to consider conflicting ideas as you consider options, knowing and respecting those who’ve earned a place at the table, having healthy and optimistic interactions with those who’re more experienced, wiser and more connected than you might be?

Most important is being able to admit that you were wrong, because you didn’t know what you know now, and then being able to acquiesce and chart a new path to an environment where as many as possible can win.

Truth Be Told, I don’t know too many people who wouldn’t rather work with a Leader who knows what they’re talking about, who respects those they work with and most of all, who seeks useful outcomes, not just the comfort of a short-term win.

Do you?

Published by The Leadership Consortium

Maxie Carpenter was formerly Vice President of HR & Talent Development for Wal-Mart Stores. After a 27-year career, he began to pursue a number of other interests, which included alternative education, nonprofits, consulting, writing and public speaking.

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