Assumptive Leadership

I went to an all boys, Catholic Military High School. There were no girls, no women, nothing but boys, Christian Brothers and retired or active military personnel. 

It was really a great school and I learned a ton there; every day and every thing brought a new learning experience. Sometimes I even learned stuff in classes but much of the learning just came from the restrictive and often intense environment. 

During my junior year a unique opportunity came up to take a typing class. I had zero interest in learning to type; I had no plans to do anything that would require typing skills so typing wasn’t even on my radar. I was however very interested in girls. 

What made the typing class unique was that it was being offered at the all girls school that was located just across a large field from my all boys school. I assumed if I took the typing class there would be girls in the class and that would be… well you know.

I was so excited on the first day of the semester when my typing class was set to begin. About 30 of us kind of floated across the field on the way to paradise. We opened the door slowly and looked in… there was not a girl in sight. 

The schools had altered the class schedule so that all the girls would be in class when the boys “invaded” the school. There were no girls in the hall as we were quickly escorted to the classroom with the typewriters. 

It was an absolutely crushing blow when I realized I was going to be in a typing class for 3 months with 29 other guys and that it was going to be taught by Brother Theo. I mean seriously, not even a female teacher… this was a horrible disaster. 

I would like to say I was conned but no one ever said anything about girls taking the class. No one ever said there would be girls in the hall and no one said we would meet even one girl. I had assumed a whole bunch of stuff. It was in that moment that I learned one of the biggest leadership lessons of my high school years: NEVER ASSUME, never, never, never.

Leaders can’t afford to assume anything about anything. They certainly can’t afford to assume anything about anyone. Making assumptions about people can be a leader’s biggest mistake because people will very often surprise you.   

The worst thing about making leadership assumptions is that it’s so unnecessary. All the information a leader needs to make an informed decision is available to them if they only look or ask. 

Assumptions lead to quick decisions. Quick decisions based on assumptions often lead to mistakes. Overly assumptive leaders believe they know just because they are the leader, they fall into the trap of thinking they can’t be wrong just because they are the leader.

They will never be more wrong. 

The most effective leaders don’t assume. Even when they believe they know, even then, they verify their facts. Great leaders need good judgment but good judgment adds little value when it’s fed with assumptions and not facts. 

Don’t be an assumptive leader. Be a leader who gathers real facts, be a leader who would rather wait one extra day to make a good decision instead of settling for a quick one. 


Cecil the Lion

First off, “experts” in Social Media have told me not to write about stuff like this, it’s too off topic and will diminish my subscribers. Second off…. I don’t care. 

A dentist from Bloomington, Minnesota killed a lion in Zimbabwe and the world has taken notice. Apparently most of what the dentist did was completely legal. Some of what he did was not, he broke some laws. He should be punished commensurate with the laws that he broke. 

This is not the first time the dentist has allegedly crossed the line into illegal hunting. I don’t know the guy but the guy sounds like a very unethical hunter. If I didn’t care about being called judgmental I might even describe the guy as a jerk. 

Also apparently, the lion he killed was “beloved.” He roamed “free” for years at a national park. He was described as a gentle giant. He never bothered anybody, he just did what lions do.

PETA has now called for the immediate execution of the dentist. No trial, no evidence, no lawyers, just kill the damn dentist. Other people who are “horrified” at the murder of this innocent lion have threatened to kill the dentist’s wife and kids. 

Not far from my office in the same Bloomington, Minnesota a demonstration was held outside the dentist’s office. Hundreds of people gathered to protest this man they called an “abomination.” There was media coverage from around the world. 

The death of Cecil the Lion was indeed a big deal.

Mere miles from the dentist’s office is the Hennepin County Morgue. As the protest for Cecil was taking place the body of a little boy was at the morgue. This child was also innocent, he didn’t bother anyone, he was beloved and he was also murdered while doing what children do.

But there was no outrage, there was no protest. The story of Cecil the lion was world-wide news, it was the lead story in Minnesota which is the other side of the world from where Cecil was killed. Cecil was discussed on talk radio for days, he still is as a matter of fact. The story of the murdered little boy was briefly mentioned on the radio, he was one of 30+ murders in the area in 2015…. so far.

Did I mention the fact that the child was a human being and the lion was an animal? 

Has the whole world gone crazy?

The protestors in Bloomington and animal rights activists around the world say we must work to ensure no more innocent lions are killed…. ever! I’m fine with that but where are the human rights activists protesting to ensure no more little boys are killed…ever?

Perhaps if people had the same sense of outrage when a little boy is killed as they do when a lion is killed, perhaps then, just perhaps, fewer little kids would be gunned down while playing in the street. 

Maybe the whole world isn’t crazy, most people questioned in Zimbabwe hadn’t actually heard about the lion and said they were too busy trying to make a living to care about it. But maybe some people truly do place more value on the life of a lion than they do on the life of a little boy. Judging from the events of the last week that would appear to be the case. 

That would also be very, very sad.