When leaders fail...
What if your boss did not lead? What if a dad stopped being the person the rest of the family could look up to? What if a mother gave up on her role as a model for her kids?
What if, in the moment that required courage, you made the decision to remain silent and not lead? What if a President, or a King, or a governor, made the choice to give up on what he (or she) knows to be right, and run with the crowd, at the expense of innocent blood?
The answer is...
The answer to all of these questions is that each situation would probably deteriorate. There would probably be a significant loss of potential; an increase in frustration, and in some cases, extreme suffering and stress. The fundamental reason for leading in the first place is to make things better -- to improve a situation, or to produce a better outcome so that both leader and followers can move towards a better future.
Yet, how often do we see leaders actually wearing these ideals?
Leading, but not...
As I work with leaders and train coaches, I see many many leaders who are not even close to these qualities. Yet, there they are, getting promoted into positions of authority that they should never be in, and then causing immense harm to their organizations, and the people who are unfortunate enough to end up under their command.
We all recognize that these ideals of character, integrity, and valor, are good for us. We all know that we want to support leaders who have these soul qualities. Yet, one of the leading causes of loss of quality personnel from an organization, is that they feel that they have unbearable leaders. Leaders make or break their organizations.
Know a tree by its fruit...
As usual, there is a lot of commentary surrounding the election of leaders in our country. While some are praising their leaders' virtues and achievements, others are exposing their disasters and failures. This is like planting an orange tree that produces as many good oranges, as bad. A farmer would uproot the tree, and replace it with another, because half good, and half bad is simply not good enough.
When it comes to leadership, we seem to have settled for half good, and half bad leaders. We have settled for a tree that is sub-par. We should ask:
- Can a relationship grow when every second decision is a mess?
- Will a corporation produce a healthy working environment when its leaders are messing up as fast as they are fixing up?
- Will you love working for a boss who is wise half the time, and a fool the rest?
- Will a family thrive when parents speak truth to their children one moment, and then lie the next?
The point is that leadership has to be about leading with successful wisdom, truth, and integrity. It has to do so, all of the time. We know that this is true. We know that this is true, because in the depths of our soul this what we all want from ourselves. Moreover, we want our leaders to be a reflection of who we hope to be - until we realize that they are not!
The need to lead ethically and effectively, is a soul need. And so is the need to follow and support such leaders with equal quality and integrity. When leaders lose sight of this, so do their followers.
When one takes care of these needs as a leader, it is hard not to become a powerful, authoritative, and a profoundly influential leader. When these qualities are in place, productivity is very likely to rise in tandem with loyalty, and a more motivated workforce. This change will tend to permeate throughout the organization. It starts or falls with leadership.
So, if these things are missing in your environment, what are you going to do, or say? Leadership begins with a choice to lead, or to abdicate. Leadership begins with a choice to be true to your soul, or to deny what you know is true. The latter choice will cause a leader to trend in the direction of failing to do what needs to be done. This choice is where the rubber hits the road, and where the great divide is created between those who will become great leaders, and those who will remain small in their person, and their leadership.
What kind of leader are you? What kind of leader are you serving?
About the author:
Guy Morrell-Stinson is the founder of Soulthentics.com, which focuses on the training and certification of leaders and consultants, based on principles of living in a true and authentic relationship with one's soul.
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