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Tuesday, 31 March 2020 11:56

When Leaders don't lead

In these times of uncertainty, unpredictability and chaos, we need leadership more than ever - clear, consistent, fact and principle-based leadership. Leadership that takes responsibility and intiative, that is both humble and firm, that leverages the resources, ideas, and strengths of others, that is decisive, yet flexible in steering a clear course. Leaders that give people confidence and optimism in their problem solving, their decisions and their wisdom. Leaders who can listen and learn, and educate others in building a common picture of the issues, dilemnas, and critical and difficult choices that need to be made. Most important, leaders need followers to be effective leaders.

When leaders don't lead, followers don't follow. When leaders vascillate, followers get confused. When leaders don't or won't decide, people are left to their own devices (okay when we are truly independent entities, not when we are truly interdependent, need to collaborate / share, and can learn from each other to create solutions to novel or fast changing circumstances). Unfortunately, we are seeing the results of both leaders leading, and leaders not leading, and its costing time, creating uncertainty and a loss of confidence, and hope (not to mention lives) in those instances where leaders are not leading. The contrasting actions and inactions, and their consequences couldn't be more stark. "Getting out of the way" is a good first step for leaders not leading, but it alone is not enough. Those who step up need reinforcement for stepping up, and need the authority, resources, and appreciation for doing so. Unfortunately, these too are lacking with leaders who don't lead.

Leadership has always been about making tough decisions that affect lives and livelihoods, about communicating choices and how they align with overall goals and principles, and about marking progress and celebrating successes and contributions along the way, while staying the course. Leadership has also always been about our behavioral example, the HOW of addressing issues, solving probles, engaging and learning from others, marshalling necessary resources to achieve the overarching purpose and good. 

Leaders, let's play our parts in these turbulent and troubling times, so that followers can follow, and we can succeed together and come out stronger and be our best selves.