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Knowing What Really Matters
Some leaders make an issue when office supplies are not in their proper places, and some leaders don’t. For some leaders, a colleague who sits at the head of the conference table at every meeting is a matter worth confronting, and for others it is merely an annoyance and nothing more.
The question leaders face throughout every day is: What is worth struggling over and fighting for, and what isn’t?
We are often reminded to pick our battles wisely. We can’t fight about every issue and problem and win. Knowing what issues are worth engaging and what controversies are worth avoiding is a defining characteristic of effective leaders.
Leaders who fight too many battles lose ground in the court of team opinion. When leaders take on less significant issues and fight over them as if everything depended on the outcome, people around them roll their eyes and conclude that winning every argument is more important than leading others to success.
So, what, to you, is worth arguing about?
The best way to answer this question is to clarify your values and what really matters to you, both short and long term. The more clarity you have about your values, principles, and standards, the easier it is to make good decisions when deciding to engage others in matters that will likely produce discomfort or conflict.
The common expression is “to keep things in perspective,” but the lens through which you view what is important is highly subjective. While there are no “right” perspectives or values, clarity before the choice to confront is essential.
Spending the time to think through what you believe is worth fighting over is a good step toward achieving clarity. Perhaps, the next step is to observe others and what issues they chose to engage and ask yourself if you would do the same. Pre-deciding on how you would engage specific situations can serve as a guidepost for future actions.
Getting angry or upset and causing friction over issues that, in the scheme of things, don’t matter to you is neither wise nor appropriate. Only you know the answers, so take the test before you find yourself in situations where your impulses take over. Knowing your values will not only keep you from unnecessary conflict, but will allow you to live in accordance with what is truly important to you. Great clarity produces great choices.