A year or so ago, 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…?

crossed fingers2It is with that mindset that I have been viewing the recent political antics–accusations directed at their opponents and inflated with their own supposed accomplishments and promises. And with each new debate and each new ad, there is soon to be a retaliatory response from the opponent. Actually, there is probably very little untarnished truth in anything we are hearing. 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, should it be about 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 contentious nature of the rhetoric of our aspiring Presidents-to-be, not to mention the state of politics in general, the integrity inherent in the wisdom and courage inherent in that 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…?