The difference, it can be said, between a leader and a follower is that the leader makes a decision while the follower can choose to criticize the decisions of leaders. Good leaders make good decisions; good decisions are rooted in one’s ethics. So a good leader is a virtuous leader.
Pragmatic leaders decide on the basis of what will succeed.
For leaders: What do you think of his virtues of leaders list? What do you do to develop these? Where do these come into play? Speak up, o quiet leader, we want to hear from you!
What is a messy decision you had to make that was shaped by virtues? Where has tenacity succeeded for you?
Who is a virtuous and quiet leader model for all of us?
Reflective, virtuous leaders decide on the basis of what is good. So, how do we decide what is good? This is the question Brian Harris asks in The Tortoise Usually Wins, a noteworthy book about leadership that is not your typical book about leadership. It is about quiet leadership or the ways of quiet leaders.
He sketches three theories of ethics (and I will dip the Sermon on the Mount into ethical theory in my forthcoming book, The Sermon on the Mount, due out this Fall): deontological ethics (a focus on rules to guide us), teleological ethics (a focus on the goal or outcome, and in Christian theology one modifies this theory in the direction of eschatology), and virtue ethics (a focus on character and the habits needed to create a character that makes good decision and does good things).
Every leader makes decisions; every leader’s decisions emerge out of that leader’s ethical theory (or theories). So we want virtuous leaders.
As a case study, Brian explores the lying of the Hebrew midwives, and he does so artfully.
What are the virtues of quiet leadership?
1. Modesty: their aim is not to change the world but to do their bit in the big picture.
2. Restraint: patience and self discipline leader the quiet leader to hold back instead of venting or making a rash decision… quiet leaders wait to make decisions.
3. Tenacity: they care deeply; they keep on keeping on; they don’t stick it out; they don’t give in or up.
4. Interdependence: systems theory is recognized; things are inter-related. It does not all depend on them; we are related to one another.
5. Other-centeredness: they are shepherding, servant leaders, not empire builders. Decisions are shaped by their impact on others.
What should we do? is more important than what could we do?