Leadership Distinction #11: Will

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You may believe it. You may want it. But will you Will it?

Photo by Matt Sclarandis on Unsplash

A leader’s fertile imagination may stir up an idea. This worthy idea may crystallize into a vision. And a clear vision may convince a leader to believe. But even an earnestly held belief must still contend with the leader’s final internal gate-keeper, the threshold that stands between big thought and big action – the Will.

The great American psychologist and philosopher William James wrote that, “Voluntary action, then, is at all times a result of the compounding of our impulsions with our inhibitions.” Because the leadership endeavor is an attempt to change reality, a reflective leader will experience the compulsion to bolt forward. But the equally powerful restraint of doubt argues a host of reasons to just hold one’s horses. What will emerge victorious from this conflict? 

 A synonym for Will, that helps to add meaning at this pivotal point, is resolve. It says that a contentious matter has been settled and the leader will now commit to the voluntary action that must follow.

When the leader’s Will gets repeatedly tested in the follow on execution of plans, another form of the word resolve emerges and illuminates our understanding of the character required to continue onward through the trials – that word is resolute.

If your idea to bring about intended change among the prevailing chaos is inspirational enough, if your belief is solid enough, and if your Will has resolved the complex contest of reasons for and against, then the abiding strength of your volition will be your signature on the deeds that unfold, and the new reality that emerges.

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Episode 11