A Bias Towards Action

As noted in the previous posts (links) listening carefully and attending to emotions provide steps towards a more centered, informed connection with the world around you. With a greater awareness and understanding comes a responsibility towards action. Action does not inevitably follow from insight, but action is essential for leading a group towards greater resiliency.

Taking action calls upon different capacities, such as the following incomplete list:

    • Appreciating Closure. A bias towards action follows from an appreciation of closure. You want to have things done.

    • Sense of Agency. Along with a bias towards action is a sense of agency: leaders have a sense that they are responsible for making things happen.

    • Self-Management. Many important tasks facing leaders are complex. They require a sustained, consistent effort to move an unsettled state of things into closure.

    • Courage. Action is a lot more risky than thought. Courage makes a difference.

The next few posts will explore these qualities that support a bias towards action.

Most people appreciate closure, but for some it becomes a driving motivation. For them, knowing that a project is incomplete makes them anxious. They cannot become relaxed until a project is complete.

This quality can be a burden in that people are often faced with juggling multiple projects with many time lines. To maintain peace of mind, it becomes important to identify milestones along the way to closure. That is, the project may be far from completion, but the milestones confirm that today’s contribution was a meaningful step along the way.

A powerful part of an appreciation of closure is that the motivation is intrinsic to the person. The driving force in their work is not an external reward or another person’s approval. These responses are always a step away and somewhat uncertain. An appreciation of closure travels with you and is tied directly to your own activity.

For a leader, the insights that arrive when listening carefully and attending to emotions create an agenda for leadership action. Whether these insights turn into action depends on the leader and the situation. An appreciation of closure is an important part of that mix.

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