What do I mean by “leadership is contextual”?

I mean that being competent to lead one company doesn’t mean that I will be equally competent to lead in another company with a different culture. It means that being competent to lead one city doesn’t mean that I will be competent to lead another city. Mark Zuckerberg might be a great leader for Facebook, but don’t think that he will be a great leader for GM, Walmart, or a great president of the United States.

It’s quite possible that the president Barack Obama, former president of the U.S. could run to be mayor of a small city and lose even though he has led the free world through two elections.

If voters in a certain organization or geographic location don’t elect you to be their leader, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be deemed a desirable leader in another context and so voted by those people to be their leader.

It also means that we need to always learn from our “failures” because every failure has its own unique context.

If you are not chosen by one group of people, there are always many lessons to be learned. Take time to reflect on and reevaluate the experience and see why you weren’t chosen by the voters. Was this because of a misperception of your character or competence? Human beings are very emotional creatures. We make our decisions with our feelings and then find reasons to justify them. Many times, the reason people don’t like you (and so wouldn’t vote for you) is simply because you rubbed off the wrong way and may not have known it at all. It’s often not because of competence.

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