Is That Truly What You Mean?
According to Merriam-Webster, “wishy-washy” means “lacking in character or determination, [as in] ‘ineffectual wishy-washy leadership’“. Google defines it as “feeble or insipid in quality or character; lacking strength or boldness“.
Not sure I’d want to be known as “insipid in character”.
Merriam-Webster adds that “wishy-washy” was first used in 1703. Curiously, their website doesn’t indicate where it was used. Suffice it to say, we’ve had wishy-washy leaders for over 300 years.
And now is not the time to be one of them.
Time for clarity and coherence
The reason why many people understandably don’t want to be a leader is that it’s frequently demanding, complex, challenging, time-consuming, and, at times, thankless.
Leadership is hard, particularly under uncertainty and turbulence. And we find ourselves in uncertain and turbulent times on several fronts.
So if you’re a leader, definitely not a time to be wishy-washy.
Time for clarity and coherence.
So where do you stand?
Pick your issue: How to best deal with COVID-19; the restarting of the economy; public safety; the use of masks/face coverings in public; social and racial justice; climate change (remember that?); etc.
So where do you stand? And why?
As a leader, it’s likely those you lead and other key stakeholders will want to know what you think.
What will you say when asked? Have you thought it through? All the way through?
Better to practice now.
Just like you can’t practice delivering a presentation by rehearsing it only in your head, you should never “wing it” when stating your perspective on complex matters.
Practice your answers. Out loud.
As you do so, you’ll likely stop and say to yourself, “No, that’s not how I’d want to say that”, or “No, that’s not quite what I mean to say.”
Best to have that experience first by yourself in the privacy of your car, shower, bedroom, new home office space (a.k.a. living room/dining room/occasionally the closet), or outside in your favorite private space.
Yes, sometimes leaders get do-overs, but in this age of instant celebrity and villainy courtesy of social media, you truly don’t get a second chance to make a good lasting first impression.
Be safe, stay healthy, and lead well.