Leadership is a gift given. It comes from the belief of others, in you.
It should be viewed as an honor and a privilege.
With it comes a responsibility to use that influence to move people, organizations and society forward. But sadly, we have far too many leaders who are leading in the wrong direction. One need only to listen to the rhetoric emanating from the political campaigns to understand what the misuse of leadership influence sounds like.
I want to be clear that is not a political commentary, rather it is a leadership commentary.
On Responsible Leadership
There are fundamental requirements to responsible leadership. Leaders should help people reach beyond their fears. They need to inspire and bring diverse people together.
Leaders should enable others to see the potential that they were blind too. They should work to open eyes, minds and hearts. Had not JFK helped us to see and believe in the potential, would we have put a man on the moon?
Leading Through Fear
Turn on the news, read the paper and it will quickly become obvious that our leaders are not honoring their responsibility.
They are leading people into their fears.
Rather than helping them overcome them, they are encouraging them to build walls around those fears. They are serving to solidifying them, making them more real and concrete. These same leaders aren’t expanding our vision; they are narrowing it.
They aren’t facilitating our ability to envision our true potential. Instead, they are aiding our retreat. They aren’t bringing us together; they are dividing us. We aren’t celebrating diversity; we are running from it and I for one, am disgusted. We should be revoking their leadership cards!
Going the Wrong Direction
Our politicians are an almost satirical example of leadership in the wrong direction. We should, however, use them as a reminder. We ought to be looking at ourselves in the mirror and asking, “Am I leading in the right direction?”
Hopefully, your business challenges aren’t as frightening or as daunting as those that we face geopolitically. But, we do face fears, and it can be difficult to keep that future potential in sight. The same leadership risks exist, albeit on a slightly different scale.
A Brave Future
We should be looking to see if we are actually encouraging our organization to circle the wagons or, if in fact we are pushing through that which scares us. We must be painting a picture and connecting the dots so that everyone, including ourselves, sees and believes in that future state.
We want to be sure to bring people together, encouraging diversity of thought, of beliefs and personality. We need to be expanding horizons, making people feel better about what they do and how they fit into the greater organization. We should inspire others to reach their full potential. If we do all of these things, we will be leading in the right direction.
I am a realist. I recognize that the vitriolic and myopic nature of politicians is unlikely to change in the near future. Yet, I am also an optimist. I believe that if each one of us takes the personal responsibility to lead in the right direction, then just maybe in aggregate, we can inspire change.
To me, this is such an important conversation.
Social media gives us an unbelievable platform from which to have one. Please, use the comment section below to share your thoughts on leading in the right direction and what we can do to inspire change.
So what type of leader are you? Do you tend to rely on a fear-based approach, or do you lead your followers through fear and on to a better picture of tomorrow? What can do you to know the current obstacles and find better ways to lead in the right direction? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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