Crossing my timelines this week have been some aphorisms about ‘doing what is right’. It’s a little like putting the horse before the cart.
‘Right’ is not an absolute value: it’s not like gravity, or a brick. It’s more relative or subjective than we may think. And it’s often judged in retrospect. Even when you can ‘weigh’ or ‘measure’ it, the metric that we use may, itself, be an abstraction.
So, sure, leaders may seek to do ‘what is right’, but to discover what that is may involve diagnosis, reflection, and a recognition that any action we take will sit within a context, both implicit and conscious.
Perhaps leadership is less about ‘doing what is right’, and more about the humility to recognise that we are always imperfect in our actions (even if virtuous in our intent) – and that perhaps what is more important is our ability to understand impact, and reflect on our action, within the broader context and journey.