A moment of truth takes the form of opportunities to do the right thing, over doing the easy thing.
Leadership is a role that must be re-established every day, by passing through a series of “moments of truth”. The key is to recognize those moments when they come along.
One morning my first moment of truth came on a busy morning commute into the office. Traffic was crawling along the long two-lane road, but at least we were moving. Up ahead I noticed a car stuck on a side-street, with the patient driver trying to find a break in the traffic to merge into our street.
Every fiber in my being screamed at me to avoid eye-contact and to simply keep inching my car forward. But the leader in me recognized that my day’s first moment of truth had arrived; I let him in.
Can you recognize leadership moments of truth when they present themselves?
Here are 5 leadership moments of truth you could face today:
1. Choosing to engage in a difficult conversation, when it would be easy to simply avoid the conflict.
2. Keeping your office door open and inviting conversations, when it would be easy to shut out the world.
3. Being the first to apologize, when it would be easy to pout and to wait for the other person to make the first move.
4. Taking the time, and interest, to find out what is really bothering your teammate, when it would be easy to keep the conversation at a superficial level.
5. Sticking with the problem until you had found a solution, when it would be easy to just move on to a simpler task.
As leaders, we do not enter into our day entitled to carry the mantle of “Leader” like an inherited badge of honor. Leadership is a privilege that is re-earned daily, and it happens each time we choose the right thing over the easy thing.
So as you enter into the new day, keep in mind that your first order of business is to re-establish your leadership mantle, and then to continue establishing that mantle throughout the day.
You do this by seizing the moments of truth that constantly present themselves.
Recognize them. Do the right thing.
And lead again for another day.