The Problem With Excessively Optimistic Leaders

They put people in harm’s way. And sometimes could be too costly a price to pay.

Image source: pexel

Growing up, I had a Pastor I admired so much but for one thing.

He was young, vibrant, and most importantly was a voracious reader. But one thing always turns me off. He was too confident of himself.

The few times he gave me a ride in his car, I had my legs shaking for fear after the journey. He was no different from James Bond in the movies.

For that reason, I kinda rather prefer to walk on foot to my destination being someone who fears sustaining a disability or even injury. I have seen how after a road traffic accident so many people never regain their balance or walk like they use to.

One day, he was driving with his wife as usual and a wild pig was just crossing with a few of her young. He could have stopped to allow them to pass, but for the speed.

We went to visit him and his wife at the hospital the next day.

Confidence Doesn't Negate Reality.

For instance, no matter how confident I am, it doesn't rule out the fact that taking a shot of insecticides might land me on the other side of life.

It is the same as everything else. This is very important when other persons will be affected by your decision. A good example is leaders.

Excessively optimistic leaders not only put their lives but those of others in harm's way.

We once had a diabetic mother who got pregnant. She took in without informing her doctor. And didn't come to book the pregnancy until after 20 weeks.

Because the sugar was poorly managed, the fetus was assessed to be a case of fetal macrosomia. She was told that we can only deliver the baby through a cesarean section.

Here in Nigeria, most women associate cesarean delivery as being incompetent on their part and vaginal delivery as proof of strength and competence.

It adds a diamond on their crown, telling her fellow woman that she gave birth to the baby herself.

For that reason, she went to her pastor, and the pastor criticized the doctor's report and professed that since she was a daughter of Zion, she will give birth to her baby herself.

She went to a nearby health center and booked the pregnancy there. Because the health center doesn't offer ultrasounds services, they managed her as a normal pregnancy.

Unfortunately, at the time of delivery, the labor was obstructed. They tried all their maneuvers. No progress.

Before she could get to our facility, a teaching hospital for surgical intervention, the child had suffered fetal hypoxia and after a few minutes gave up.

In addition to the case of fetal mortality, the mother suffered perineal tears necessitating cervical and vaginal repairs.

But she could have avoided this problem.

It is good to be optimistic. But when the danger is obvious, it is unwise to move ahead irrespective.

We should carefully titrate optimism against a situation.

The higher the risk involved in a situation, the less the optimism that should be exercised.

It helps to minimize the complications that might result by progressing slowly with caution or avoiding the complications by taking an alternate route.

A better way to access whether a situation is a high risk or not is the possibility of a loss of life.

If there is a possibility that life will be lost, it is better for leaders to not progress with optimism into uncertainty.

Either seek guidance or take the alternative and recommended route.

A good example was during Covid lockdown. Many leaders disbelieve the existence of covid and still went ahead about their day-to-day activities with their employees.

Many of the cases we received at the hospital were from those who the defaulters of the lockdown regulation.

A few presidents of countries were guilty of this as a result have their citizens contact the disease and suffered several degrees of morbidity and mortality.

Optimism is good, but excessive optimism is not healthy. Especially when lives are involved, it is better to exercise caution to forestall possible loss of lives.

Blind optimism is not proof of boldness. It is ignorance in action. And it can be very dangerous.

The best approach is to weigh the risk involved in a situation and titrate optimism wisely.

Cheers to better leadership.

27. Studying B.Sc Medicine and B.Sc Surgery [ MBBS] | Writer on Medium| Blogger on WordPress. Meet me:

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