A recent Wall Street Journal article talked about the high value placed on leaders who play nice.

Few would argue that being nice is important, but how important?

In betting on horses, a person can place a bet on whether a horse will win, place, or show. The “win” bet pays if the horse gets first place. The “place” bet wins if the horse comes in first or second. The “show” bet pays if the horse is one of the top three finishers. Using that scale, a leader should consider “nice” to be at the “show” level. A leader does not need to be the nicest, but they should be in the competitive mix.

Being nice is important, but not as important as other factors.

If “being nice” is not the most important factor, to what should a leader aspire to be the very best? I could see other factors (like discernment), but considering the many leaders I work with and the problems they deal with I would have to suggest “clarity.”

Simple clarity can cure many ills. A dedication to clarity keeps meetings from going in the ditch. Being very clear keeps people from going in directions that were not intended. Pursuit of clarity helps people align quickly. The leader who is tops in clarity is like a breath of fresh air in any situation.

There may be other factors that would be in the top, but I would put my money on clarity to win most every day.


Want to lead your organization to be the very best it can be? Contact me to schedule a confidential discussion.