Reason is one of the core leadership capacities identified by Positive Leadership. While those in leadership roles are often delegated some degree of authority, true leadership rests in the ability to lead others without the use of authority. This is where the idea of reason comes into leadership. A leader must have the ability to consider reality at all times, applying it to their leadership in a way that makes them reasonable. No leader, no matter how informed, is always right. It is pertinent to be as informed as possible, allowing yourself to have a better understanding the circumstances you are operating in.

In considering reality, a leader must recognize that their perceived reality accounts for only a small fraction of the bigger picture. In fact, often our perceived realities can be quite inaccurate. The difference between reality and perception is quite distinct—and quite crucial to leadership. The true reality is one that considers other factors and people involved, and is the basis for informed decision making. To make informed decisions, a leader must be willing to heed the perspectives of others to consider all possible outcomes. In studying all factors in a scenario from all possible perspectives, a leader can then arrive at a reality.

When leaders choose to avoid realities other than the ones they perceive, they practice avoidance. How many times have you said “that’s not my problem,” when faced with a dilemma that involved perceived realities other than your own? We have all done it, even unconsciously. These acts of avoidance, however, stand in the way of reaching our utmost potential as leaders. When alternate realities are contemplated, leaders are practicing reason. In essence, reason can close the gap between reality and absurdity.

In a leadership position, you can think of your role as allowing you the ability to see from the peak of a mountain. From the peak of a mountain, you have the opportunity to see reality from a 360-degree perspective. If you are at the top of this mountain, but neglect to look out at every side, you are neglecting to see what’s really happening. Once you see every perspective, you will have an understanding of a reality that you can then use to shape your decision making. Often as leaders we fall into the trend of favoring the perspectives we are used to seeing: those of colleagues, fellow leaders, and those we often collaborate with. In order to be as reasonable as possible, you must look beyond that to consider any and all affected by a decision you will make.

Practicing reason is the best way to maximize your positive leadership. Reasonable leaders are the leaders that others find admirable, approachable, and inspiring. Contrary to popular misconception, you can achieve reasonability without comprising your ability to be daring, bold, innovative, or imaginative. You can have all of those traits. As long as you consider a variety of perspectives and gather all of the information you need to make decisions, you can be a positive, reasonable leader.

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