This is Leadership: Sifting

This is Leadership: Look until you see
High Resolution Leadership Concept

“Anytime you feel like stopping, think of why you started.”

Avery good friend gave me a present. An hourglass! Anytime I look through it, I see myself going through a process. A process of scrutiny. Maybe that is the power of the glass. Every leader goes through sifting. Making your vision clearer in blurry moments is a skill. Ahenkorah (2018) shared that your vision shouldn’t blur, even in tears.

Leaders must be unfaltering to sift no matter what it takes. Categorise by prioritising your options and make decisions on the go. Don’t leave any area grey. To live or to die is to decide (Ahenkorah 2018). If you learn to sift, you learn to make the right decisions. There’s no point throwing the baby away with the water and dancing around that you successfully ‘threw’ the water away. How about the intern surgeon who said the operation was successful because he got the baby out even though the mother in labour died in the process?

Sifting comes with responsibilities and leaders must be ready for this. Learning to give a good account of your performance and measuring the team’s progression feed into sifting. Leaders must use the feedback loop. It works. Seeing the distance of a journey and celebrating your arrival gives a sign of winning but it also calls for sifting to guide your steps. In sifting, a leader must focus on the outcome, with a clear understanding that every process or milestone is as important as the final outcome.

Anytime you feel like stopping when sifting, think of why you started. There’s not much incentive in sifting. It’s a self-motivating process. Learn not to stop even when it hurts. You’ll definitely smile after the process. Harrell (2005) affirms that we always have the power of choice. It is worth reiterating this point because good leaders listen (Empathy: HBR Emotional Intelligence series 2017).

In reality, great leaders listen to ‘rubbish’ too. To the point that, great leaders allow followers to speak their minds, and some followers really ‘speak their minds’. Leaders must learn to sift. It is a skill to be tactful with priority when sifting. The only advice is; sift because you have to. Sifting involves learning to tell it right in the face and not containing yourself in the grapevine. You don’t have to hide behind people’s shadows to sift.

Still staring through the hourglass, I see solutions and I feel the weight of every ‘sand’ drop. Sifting makes vision clearer from a leader’s own experience through an analytical perspective. What I’m not sure of, is the leader’s sifting motives. If you sift and still have the grain mixed with chaff, then the process must be revisited. A leader’s sifting motive is always crucial.

If Goleman (2005) asserts that the body has a mind, then as a leader, you have every reason to look into yourself until you see through your body, in an attempt to interpret what you sift for. It is always important to learn when to sift and how to sift in order to apply the mind appropriately on what to sift for.

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