Have you noticed how many adjectives we seem to use these days when we talk about leadership?
Authentic, servant, great and real are a few of the adjectives that come to mind. In scanning articles about leadership it doesn’t take long to get the message that there is an absence of the kind of leadership needed to address the challenges in today’s world. There is also no shortage of examples of bad leadership.
With all the books, programs, and experts on leadership you would think we would have a glut of great leadership, but instead we have a seemingly ever growing void.
In his article on Counterfeit Leadership, Frank Sonnenberg does a great job distinguishing the difference between a real leader and those with leadership positions who misuse their position and/or fail to lead. He also points to our complicity stating: “With full complicity, we reward these misguided efforts by electing politicians for “life” and by paying executives zillions of dollars to damage the same organizations that they “swear” to serve.”
We know this kind of thing is happening. Unfortunately it is easy to point out examples of bad leaders and the absence of real leadership. Glaring examples of bad leadership are being called to our attention at an alarming rate. The void of “real” leadership is palpable for most of us.
My question to you is how can we fill the void?
We have laws and institutions that are supposed to protect us. We get discouraged and angry when they don’t, but for the most part we have no idea what we can do about it. It is easy to feel powerless. So we attempt to point out the flaws in the leaders and/or the system hoping someone is smart enough and ethical enough to lead the way to the so obviously needed change.
What if each and every one of us chose to lead instead of waiting (and hoping) for someone else to lead us?
I’m not talking about positional leadership. What I am talking about is considering where you can make a difference by providing the leadership that is missing and so desperately needed.
You can start by asking yourself these questions:
- Is there something that needs to be said that no one is saying? If so then you could be the one to speak up.
- Is there something I can do that would help restore the integrity of myself or others? If so, then you could be the one to step up and take action to correct the course.
- Are actions being taken or words being spoken that are inconsistent with the values and commitments of you and/or your organization? If so, they you could be the one to take a stand.
You don’t have to be THE leader to be a leader. You don’t have to try to take over someone’s position, cause a coupe, or be given power or a position by someone else to help fill the void of real leadership. Every single one of us – that means YOU! – can make a difference by committing one act of leadership at a time.
Consider that “they” won’t change until we, as in you and me, do. The time is now for every one of us to be a “real” leader.
Are you ready and willing to fill the void?