Leadership must understand there is a difference between OPTIONS and OPPORTUNITIES. An option is simply a possibility to do something – good or bad – profitable or unprofitable. An opportunity is a favorable situation for a positive outcome or occasion to advance oneself. Every time a person presents us with an apparent occasion to do something that previously wasn’t there – we automatically label it an opportunity. Unfortunately, it isn’t long and we find out it was not as profitable as we first thought. Maturity evaluates everything presented to it. What is presented may be an option, but not necessarily a good opportunity for progress.
Why is it so important to know the difference between the two?
Chasing every option as an opportunity will eventually erode the people’s trust in you as a leader. This is not to imply immoral options being chased, but running down every trail and selling it to the public as the latest and greatest opportunity and then later it is not something good. Then, people lose trust in our decision making ability and we lose what I call “decision integrity.” When integrity is lost, the bridge of trust will collapse and no more influence is available to the leader. Leadership must know the responsibilities of the position and the consequences of our decisions. Trust is a bridge that your integrity builds for people to give you access to influence them.
This of course includes the moral issues of leadership as well. Principled character is a leader’s power. Someone once said that leadership is influence. Integrity constructs the bridge of trust for influence to take place. People become willing instead of coerced. When citizens do and follow willingly then you have established a unified movement built on their belief in what you have established as a value. Now when you speak, they listen to hear direction for them to move instead of assuming the pundit chair of criticism.