Key questions that leaders have to address
Leaders do, of course, have moments of elation and stretches of smooth sailing, but in the exciting, turbulent, and dangerous world of the new invisible hand, these moments can be infrequent and fleeting, and they are typically hard won—through very demanding effort and real struggle—according to Joseph Badaracco in his book The Good Struggle: Responsible Leadership in an Unforgiving World.
We live in an era of rapid change and uncertainty, in which extraordinary opportunities are balanced against great risks and intense performance pressure. This gives rise to difficult questions about the nature of responsible leadership, and the author examines the struggle faced by today’s leaders through the filter of five key leadership questions:
- Am I really grappling with the fundamentals?
- What am I really accountable for?
- How do I make critical decisions?
- Do we have the right core values?
- Why have I chosen this life?
The book offers no prospect of gentler kinder days ahead. Instead, when leaders find themselves caught up in the trials of Sisyphus, the ancient king condemned by the gods to push a heavy rock to the top of a steep hill, only to see it roll back to the bottom, again and again for all eternity, they are encouraged to find joy in the daily struggle.
I normally prefer to read books which provide practical suggestions for addressing problems, rather than books which merely describe problems. This book falls into the latter category, but it describes the leader’s struggle in an elegant and insightful way, so that any leader can benefit from reading the book and contemplating the key questions which it raises.