As an executive leadership coach, I sometimes use storytelling with my clients to make a point. Sometimes, the stories are more profound than any coaching or guiding I could do. Last week, one of my clients heard the story of two Zen Monks and it had a profound impact on his leadership.
The story goes as follows, there were two Zen monks who are on a journey together. As they are walking, they come to a river and see an elderly woman who is struggling to cross it by herself. The older monk takes the woman on his shoulders and carries her across the river, setting her down on the other side. The woman continues on her way and the monks continue on their journey.
After several miles, the older monk notices that the younger monk is troubled and asks him what’s wrong. The younger monk explains that, according to the tenets of their beliefs, they are not supposed to touch women and yet the older monk had carried the woman across the river. It was clear that the younger monk was very angry and couldn’t let it go. The older monk then said to the younger monk; “I left the woman at the riverside a long time ago, why are you still carrying her with you?”
You might be wondering why I told him this story, this story is important because it shows that leaders must be willing to make tough decisions and take bold actions. In the same stroke, they must learn to be decisive.
There are many situations in which leaders must be decisive in order to effectively guide and lead their followers. Here are some examples of when we need leadership decisiveness:
Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world.
Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds
of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership
program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance
and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership
and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with
the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,
Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others.
Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.