What is the Place of Duty in Leadership?

March 20, 2019 11:21 am

Does doing your duty mean doggedly pursuing an aim even if the evidence around you, and the opinions of others, are telling you otherwise?

Current affairs often centre on the issue of whether someone in a prominent position is doing their duty, or whether their interpretation of this duty is correct when it comes to making important decisions.

The thing about duty is that it is not simply a noble cause to be pursued at any cost. If a leader fails to adapt then, in fact, they are failing in their duty.


Leadership and the Art of Decision Making

Leaders find themselves at the sharp end when it comes to making tough decisions. This can be emotionally and mentally demanding.

These can be decisions involving firing staff or setting out bold, new strategic directions, which come with risks attached.

Taking a measured approach to decision making means weighing up the options, but not getting distracted by considering too many of them. It also means quantifying them.


Leadership involves looking not just at short-term repercussions but also long-term implications and impacts from your decisions


Leaders have to be willing to adapt. Some of the confusion around duty seems to come from seeing it as something rigid and fixed. In fact, in business, as a CEO it is your duty to be adaptable.


Listening and Inspiring

Adaptability in leadership requires an ability to listen well and to understand the perspective of other people.

You can only truly inspire others if you can demonstrate a degree of empathy towards them.

Where a leader’s duty is to establish and maintain a business’s values and to inspire others to follow them, they need to show some transparency in how they relate to people and be open to suggestions and opinions from other quarters.


Don’t mistake listening and adapting your approach as a weakness


Duty does not require that you wear blinkers. It does, however, require, that you act in the best interests of your business, its employees, shareholders and stakeholders.

You cannot simply follow a pre-prepared script doggedly and be unprepared to deviate from it.  Real world circumstances will be telling you to adapt in order to survive.


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Mark Cushway is the CEO of the Inspired Group of companies and is passionate about employee welfare, engagement and motivation. Connect with Mark on Twitter and LinkedIn. This blog post is also available as a podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud.