There are only 3 kinds of leaders.

The first type learns before making decisions. They want the research, best practices, data and metrics, objective analysis, and sound counsel from a trusted team. They consult with outside experts as needed. They take their time to think through all the issues and the impacts. They are pro-active. They seek solutions. They are open and honest. They don’t put their thumb on the scale. They consistently reduce the odds of error and increase the probability of success. They make mistakes which they admit and learn from, but excellence is always their standard. The organizations they lead are always in the top tier for performance and integrity.

The second group does not do their homework in advance of important decisions. They tend to deny, minimize, or postpone problems. They are reactive. They often allow decisions to be made for them. Their thinking is subjective not systematic. Their evidence and reasoning are deficient. They allow non-evidentiary factors such as personalities rather than principles or policies or logic and data to drive decisions. Their only hope is to learn after making decisions which cause painful consequences usually for others. They may only be capable of learning “don’t do that again” if for no other reason than self-preservation. The organizations they lead always underperform which some prefer doing. Mediocrity is their best.

The third category never learns. They literally go from failure to failure never acquiring any of the right lessons. Dysfunction is their brand. The organizations they lead lurch from crisis to crisis. They substitute ego for evidence. Their lack of character is continuously proven. They deny problems and attack people. It’s not that they see the right decision – they only see the wrong choice and they pick it. The organizations they lead remain in perpetual dysfunction. They never quit – they must be removed. They never even learn even after a major scandal, serious consequences, or being walked out in handcuffs.

What type of leader are you?