Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman published an insightful article in Harvard Business Review that validates what many of us have observed. Excellent leaders tend to cluster. Said another way, excellent...
Tony Robbins: What is leadership? What makes a great leader? Often the “leaders” we see on TV or in the media today are figureheads that do what’s popular, but not what’s right.
A generation of spineless leaders is emerging. This is not because the leaders start off spineless but it occurs because our society and the emerging generation define leadership as whatever caters to them, not lead them. What aspiring leaders have been taught is important is the results of polls and what the majority wants, not what is right. People do not want to be told they are wrong or that their efforts are not good enough so leaders avoid conflict. Leaders fail to give feedback that might be constructed in any way as negative. Leaders are told to take the pulse of the group prior to determining direction. When asked what the leader’s vision is, the new leader is told to first ask, “What do you want the vision to be?” Then the leader can appear wise by regurgitating back to the group their own thoughts.
The generation today that does not want to hear anything with which they might disagree. Political parties are threatened if they even consider a candidate whose views are not agreed with. College campuses demand “free zones” where not one can exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is only valued if it is consistent with what the group finds acceptable.
Tony Robbins is right and wrong in his comment. Leaders are concerned about what is right; the problem is we no longer have a clear and common definition of what “right” is. Moral absolutes have been removed from the schools; the millennial generation is the largest un-churched population of any generation in American history. Families fight those in authority if everything does not turn out exactly right for their children. Everything should be just and fair and learning from disappointment or, God forbid, failure is just not acceptable. We have so indoctrinated our children with situational ethics that the definition of right is what feels right or what is expedient to that situation. Thus everyone has to participate and be involved in everything. Everyone’s opinion is equally valid. It is only fair that we do what the majority of the group wants. And we wonder why leaders cannot lead!
If America were a corporation we would say it had lost its guiding values and beliefs. What made it great is now considered antiquated and out of date. Instead of hard work as the prerequisite to success, people are entitled to life, liberty and happiness. Instead of sharing the opportunity to be successful, we want the results of success to be shared. Instead of leaders we want opinion polls. Common sense is rejected if it comes from someone the group does not support. We say we want authentic and genuine leadership. We tell leaders to be themselves. But we are only willing to accept the leaders who do what we want. And as a result, aspiring leaders play the game to gain the position
At one point in out history the greatest generation rose up and took individual responsibility to win a war against insurmountable odds. The moral fiber that was demonstrated by that generation is fast disappearing from the scene as a once proud country loses its way.
Next time you complain about the lack of leadership maybe its time to stop looking at the leaders and start considering the follower in the mirror. And God willing, maybe there is still time to do something about our decline.
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