We all claim we seek the best leadership for our organization, pragmatic88/or want to be the best leader possible, yet are often challenged regarding the necessities of leading, as well as precisely what type of individual is best suited to lead. One of the main challenges is identifying precisely what type of person someone is, and how he might behave when he becomes a leader. This involves differentiating (and understanding) the differences between an idealist, pragmatist, or a pragmatic idealist. Are these merely rhetorical occurrences, empty rhetoric, or character differences, which are significant differentiators between precisely how one might proceed, plan, and focus upon? Therefore, let’s review the key differences between being an idealistic, pragmatic, or pragmatic idealist, and how each might impact one’s leadership skills and style.
1. Idealist: Robert Frost originally wrote it, and John F. Kennedy was, perhaps, the first politician to use the following words, Some people see things as they are and ask why. I see things as they ought to be, and ask, why not? Idealism helps us seek the best solutions possible, and be open to alternatives, etc. True idealists possess meaningful dreams and goals, often emphasizing a modern-day equivalent of, Nirvana. However, unfortunately, a dream without a viable plan, often accomplishes little, and we should always ask any potential leader, not only how he would implement his goals, but whether they are truly realistic, and what the costs and ramifications (both positive and negative) of his approach might be.
2. Pragmatist: The pragmatist looks at the glass, nether as half-empty, or half-full, but rather, on the details and difficulties. Unfortunately, this approach often becomes self-limiting, because it often automatically eliminates alternative courses of action, merely because it’s not the way, it’s always been done! While this type of mindset is often a somewhat ideal one, for a manager, proceeding this way, without a significant goal or set of goals, inhibits quality, meaningful, effective leaders.
3. Pragmatic idealist: Ideally, this approach merges the best aspects of both of the proceeding ways. It creates a quality, head/heart balance, where one leads by example, focuses on needs, concerns and priorities, but also understands how to get things done. The greatest idea, unless it accomplishes and achieves something, is merely empty rhetoric, unless there is a plan of action, to articulate, motivate, develop, involve, and get things done!
In this election cycle, we have observed one candidate who emphasizes his ideals, without stating, in enough detail, how much things might cost, or the ramifications (including polarizing and losing the benefits of certain previous achievements), one who seems to balance progressive ideals with a degree of pragmatism, and another who seems to rely on vitriol, rhetoric, and bravado.Voters must be able to differentiate clearly, and understand what they are supporting!