BEING PRAGMATIC LEADER
By Psalms Ohwojite
Among many qualities required of a leader that truly inspires, the one that is rarely mentioned but stands out is pragmatism.
Pragmatism is a philosophical concept which calls attention to a person’s attitude in having a realistic assessment of present situation, evaluating specific possibilities and taking prompt and strategic actions towards acheiving results.
A pragmatic leader is composed of three cardinal personalities. He is authentic, proactive and modest.
A pragmatic leader is never static or dogmatic. He is authentic and dynamic. He does not mimic others cluelessly or think that ‘things have always been done the same way’. He understands his own leadership style and adapt it in the way that really works for him.
For example, the pragmatic leader does not pretend to be democratic whereas he is authoritative in nature and vise versa. He wields elements of his natural leadership traits with various leadership styles needed at any point in time.
The pragmatic leader experiments with strategies and models. Quickly blending with behaviors and circumstances, he capitalizes more on the style of leadership that works best and that motivates team members towards optimizing quality performance.
In a nutshell, a pragmatic leader weigh what fits, keeps what works and discard what does not work.
Furthermore, what truly makes a pragmatic leader is how he thinks.
Pagmatic leaders are highly proactive. They think and act ahead of people and events. They are never taken unaware.
Though the pragmatic leader focuses more on present reality and make decisions for the here and now, he reflects on the past to evaluate the present so as to set a straight path for the future.
In the words of a pragmatic sales team leader, they ‘anticipate the best, strategies for the worst and never ever give up’.
Again, humility or modesty shines out of a pragmatic leader. Rather than being a weak trait as some people say, modesty is a strength which helps any individual to have a reasonable view of himself, his limitations, and to see the bigger or better ideas while gratefully accepting support from others.
As inferred, pragmatic leaders are not the most intelligent or strategic, they take a modest, realistic and practical approach to making decisions and solving problems. Hence, they can tactfully advance their ideas, win people over, and as well use people’s superior experience or abilities toward acheiving and sustaining excellent results.
In the strive for excellence, pragmatic leaders realize that each step of the way may not be smooth. And like a sailor or driver heading towards a storm or hill, the pragmatic leader promptly changes gear so to speak. He changes direction or pace so as to attain organizational vision, goals or targets.
Because a pragmatic leaders is humble, he also has a modest view of his followers limitations. With emphathy, the pragmatic leader does not talk down, complain, shift blames or squeeze sweat and blood from followers. He evaluates even his mistakes, learn from it and share such experiences with his team members with a view to helping them grow and avoid pitfalls.
During times of difficulty which he had always prepared for, the pragmatic leader act like a bullwark- a shock absorber, never transferring aggression but making sound decisions even under intense pressure.
The pragmatic leader is sensitive to the need of his followers. He listens with care, feels the need of followers and act promptly in profering solutions to every identified need or challenges. He believes in the positive potential of every member of his team or follower and explore such potential to achieve set goals and objectives.
Also, the pragmatic leader promptly allocates time, resources and people to where they are needed the most.
For one to be a pragmatic leader, he needs to be objective, to think and analyze realities, to be ready to adapt to changing circumstances and yes, to always anticipate the best and strategize for the worst.
(Psalms Ejaeta Ohwojite is a social researcher, sales strategist and business developer.)