Winston Churchill and the exalting bigot
Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. - Winston Churchill.
It was quotes like this one that are credited with assisting the Allied forces to win the war and quell the inordinate ambitions of a brain washed nation. There is great wisdom in this quote and it highlights the mantra that true leadership often falls under. The majority of us have little problem comprehending and living up to the 'never give in' part of the line. On television shows like The Dragons Den and Shark Tank we have seen some contestants pursue 'ludicrous' ideas for years on end because of this admirable yet ultimately foolish philosophy. It is in the latter part of the sentence where we see the pearls of wisdom, that make the whole a wise expression, it is the yin to the yang that we often miss. It is in this part that a person is aware of the fact that sometimes they need to cut their losses and move on, something which the majority of us seem to struggle with on a regular basis.
Leadership is a skill that is rare and highly sought after. A leader is like a diamond in the rough, diamonds are perceived as a precious commodity and they are created under pressure, I think that all of this and more is true of a leader. The greatest obstacle to leadership, in oppose to management, lies in the fact that it is easy to unknowingly portray ourselves as the hypocritical type. When we come across as hypocritical too many times, we start to lose our authenticity and this becomes detrimental for everyone involved. It is all too easy to come across as a hypocrite, in fact all we need to say is something like
I pride myself on being open minded.
Or an unfortunate trap that we all too often fall into:
You are a bigot.
as these words spring for our mouths, I am sure there is a dictionary somewhere contemplating its existence as it repeats to itself over and over:
bigot: a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.
In saying all this, it would be unhealthy to spend our lives walking on eggshells. I don't think it is possible to never come across as a hypocrite to another person at some point in time. I think that what we can do is learn to become more self aware and maybe laugh at ourselves and make light of the situations where we get that awful realisation of acting like a hypocrite. A good manager gives out constructive criticism and feedback in the hope of improving their team, a great leader both gives and takes constructive criticism and feedback with the same measure of eagerness and willingness.