Stubborn Leadership Far Different From Persistent Leader

Jack Prot

I have often lectured and written about the fact that the most effective leaders need to be both committed and persistent. It is important to understand, however, that being persistent and a leader is significantly different than using stubborn leadership. While persistent leaders commit to their vision, and their vision motivates them and others to essential action, it is often the case that ineffective individuals who ascend to leadership often behave certain ways because they are stubborn. Stubborn leadership is when someone in a position of leadership refuses to look at the big picture, won’t change or adapt, refuses to expand his comfort zone, and often behaves in certain ways because his judgment is tainted by his preconceived notions, prejudices, biases, limited experience or expertise, etc. These types of people often believe that they know it all, and are extremely resistant to advanced training or learning.

1. While a persistent leader does all in his power to enhance his communication skill, stubborn individuals neglect open communication and replace it with limited and protected information.

2. An effective leader must always be open- minded, and be willing to change and adapt as necessary. Unfortunately, there are far more people in leadership positions who resist change and adapting, and this stubbornness keeps them from considering alternatives that would permit them to successful evolve for the future.

3. One of the most obvious differences between the persistent leader and the stubborn individual is their level of commitment. The persistent leader continuously undergoes and commits to enhanced training, education, and true learning. He realizes that even a knowledgeable person can and must continue to learn and to grow. The stubborn attitude, on the other hand, is a resistant one. It is generally an inflexible one, resistant to any type of new or innovative idea, or way of doing something. These stubborn individuals refuse to even consider thinking outside- the- box, and seem to spend more time and effort resisting alternative methods and thinking, than actually trying to accomplish something.

4. Persistent leaders have the can- do attitude, and are always positive thinkers. They persist even when others resist, because their vision of what can and should be motivates them to take action that they believe is important enough to fight the battle to motivate others to action. Of course, the stubborn individual generally avoids any types of conflicts, because he simply turns off to making needed and important changes.

5. The persistent leader always follows up on conversations, ideas, and alternatives. The modus operandi of stubborn leadership is to shy away from following up, and to defer taking action as long as possible.

6. While the persistent person emphasizes planning and details, it is rare for the stubborn one to get involved with making plans, often because he feels he is always correct.

After more than three decades of working with leaders, I continue to hope that people who get into leadership positions become true leaders, which requires many things, including persistence. There is rarely a poorer model for leadership than stubbornness.

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