The lack of real leadership surfaces in a number of the world’s problems. I don’t necessarily feel like people can’t handle the job, I just think that in a lot of cases, people are designated as leaders who have no business in that position. To me, they are like gases with asphyxiant properties.
Some of these gases or mixtures aren’t necessarily harmful in and of themselves, but to us, their harm is that just by occupying space with their presence, they ruin what could be a perfectly suitable atmosphere. So to make the atmosphere tenable again, one effective tactic would be to replace these noxious materials with the materials we find suitable.
Similarly, poor leaders displace good leaders. By just being present and nothing else, they contaminate the atmosphere. As a result, good leaders are simply forced elsewhere. Hopefully those good leaders can find places to create a better condition, but the loss of those individuals is intolerable to those left behind and the organization suffers.
In reading and watching the news in recent days I am reminded just how damaging these “asphyxiants” can be to organizations and really, to society. I see my job as being one to facilitate good leadership. I try to encourage you to be better people, to use good judgment, to learn and understand, and to be “missionaries”, carrying the message of good leadership to others. I don’t consider myself to be a good leader – I see myself as a continual work in process and have plenty of faults – but I recognize good leadership and I have observed what it takes to promote good leadership in others.
As much as I’d like to suggest to poor leaders that they should move out of the way to permit good leaders to fill that space, I think it is more realistic to say that perhaps we should convince those individuals to be more open-minded to learning, to engaging their people, and to promoting good practices. So you can see, instead of removing the problem, there is another tactic we can use in mitigating an asphyxiant atmosphere: by mixing the material in with a good atmosphere and making it much smaller in proportion to the whole, we can “safe” the atmosphere. While we may not always have the answers, if we can permit ourselves to be exposed to good practices and to see how things should work, we can make things better, incrementally, but just the same, much improved.
Be an agent of positive change. Promote best practices. And let’s all go home in the morning.