Recently I was privileged to hear Daryl Conner speak at an Organizational Change Alliance (OCA) meeting in Atlanta. In his topic he addressed the price we pay when we, as change agents, compromise our principles in order to accept a project or engagement. What does it cost us when we willingly give a client what they want instead of what they need from us…?
It was with that mindset that I returned home, and over the next few days and weeks was bombarded by political ads—all filled with failures and accusations directed at their opponents and inflated with their own supposed accomplishments and promises. And with each new ad, there was soon to be a retaliatory response from the opponent. Actually, there is probably very little untarnished truth in either ad. And we are supposed to make our selections based on little more than fabrications?
All of this started me thinking about leadership. What is leadership, really? Is it more about giving people/clients what they think they want, or instead, what they actually need? Is it about trying to predict the direction of huge crowds of constituents/clients, fighting our way to their front and shouting “Follow Me!!” Or is it about using wisdom and courage in an effort to turn the crowd into more productive or responsible directions.
Judging by the reaction to hysteria over Ebola by governors from New Jersey, New York, Florida, etc., not to mention the state of political advertisements, for politicians, the integrity inherent in the wisdom and courage type of leadership may be a lost cause. And if so, with those as our leaders, what does it mean for those of us that depend on them…?