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3 signs you’re facing a tough call

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

About 95% of the decisions a CEO makes could be made by an intelligent high school graduate, says speaker and author John C. Maxwell. It’s the remaining 5% that they get paid for. Those are the tough calls, and the way a leader handles them is what separates him from everyone else.

How do you know you’re facing a tough call?

1. It demands risk. When the Soviet Union overran and annexed Latvia in 1940, the U.S. vice consul in Riga was worried that people would loot the American Red Cross supplies in the city. He asked the State Department if someone could put a U.S. flag above the Red Cross flag to deter looters.

“No precedent exists for such action,” the State Department replied.

The vice consul then climbed up and nailed the American flag to the pole. He cabled back, “As of this date, I have established precedent.”

You have to put yourself on the line. If you’re not willing to take a risk, then you really have no business being a leader.

2. It begins with an inner battle. Casual observers may not be aware that it’s happening. The benefit to waging the battle inside first is that it gives you the security and courage you need to follow through with the external battle.

3. It will distinguish you as a leader. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani says, “When the right person is the leader, he does even better during tough times.”

Anyone can lead an organization when it has momentum. But when it’s lost momentum and is going the wrong way, that’s when leaders earn their pay and distinguish themselves.

— Adapted from Leadership Gold, John C. Maxwell.

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