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Leadership Traits in Lower Socio-economic Areas: Decisiveness

by Margaret Bell | April 21, 2017

Time is a luxury that most of us just do not have enough of. Unless you are one of the very few who has everything aligned and everything figured out, you probably find that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done.

This is a serious problem for leaders across all levels, but particularly in areas where the socio-economic conditions are less advantageous. In these areas, processes must be streamlined to reduce wasted costs, effort and time – all protocols must be honed and ready for action, optimised to meet the many challenges within the community.

The Myth of The Goldilocks Zone

The Goldilocks Zone – the situation in which everything is ‘just right’ and running smoothly – is so rare that it may as well not exist at all. Instead, almost all of the decisions we must make are fraught with compromises, and with unforeseen variables which exist beyond our control.

For many of today’s leaders, this is not too much of a problem. They have the resources to deal with the occasional issue, and they have enough time and money to cushion the decision-making process, giving them a little more time to come up with the goods.

This is not the case in disadvantaged areas, low on the socio-economic index.

Triage-type Thinking

The environment that leaders in deprived areas exist in is a pressurised one. From schools to hospitals, from family homes to city halls, these leaders are up against it, working quickly to make positive, considered decisions with limited resources and support. Leaders are specialists in multitasking, it goes with the job.

In effect, the entire process becomes something of a triage. Problems present themselves, are quickly assessed and prioritised, and then solutions are applied as and when necessary. It is nowhere near an ideal situation, but it is a method which can be applied quickly and effectively, giving the leader and their team a chance to ‘keep their head above water’ as it were.

So what are the effects of this? The ability to quickly process information and to act on that information is an important upshot. It is ironic, and desperately sad, that those who can least afford to make mistakes during the course of their leadership, are those who are afforded the least resources to work with. However, this is the case, and learning to deal with these resources in an effective manner is key.

Effective delegation is another key skill to be learned. Making the most of resources means knowing what you must do yourself and what is best awarded to others. This is something leaders understand quickly when they are faced with limited options. 

Margaret Bell, AM - Founder and CEO of Chain Reaction Foundation.

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