We are living in difficult times, with dysfunction and great disruption seemingly at every turn.
But there’s something to be learned in any situation. And our times now are asking us some important questions:
Why we don’t have better leadership?
Why is it we have leaders that disappoint and dissatisfy us?
Why do we allow this to happen?
An important part of the answer to these questions is this: We have become a society of bystanders.
Bystanders don’t get involved. They stand by—exactly as the name says—and watch without helping.
Bystanders see something but do nothing; they hear something but say nothing.
Bystanders are created by fear.
If you are acting out of fear you cannot be brave, and if you are acting out of passivity you cannot be courageous.
It’s when we feel most powerless, when we feel nothing we can do will change the status quo, that we need to challenge our fear and passivity—to stop being afraid, to leave any passive inclinations behind.
If you think you’re not playing a part in the dysfunction, think again. Anyone who is a bystander—anyone who’s watching without doing anything about the troublesome things they see—is part of the problem.
Ask yourself if any of these traits describe you:
You believe you’re not leadership material. Where are all the men and women who have strong vision and great ideas and are compelled for the greater good? Maybe you’ve let yourself believe you lack the power or the conviction or the skills to lead. If so, you need to start where you are and answer the call. You’ve never been needed more.
You’re suppressing your awareness. It’s easy to become so distressed that all you want to do is disengage. If you’re dismissing the problem by checking out because it’s too much to deal with, you’re resigning yourself to apathy. It’s never made any problem go away—if anything it makes things worse. You can’t help yourself or others by ignoring reality. More than ever before we need leaders who can look squarely at the problems we face.
You’ve stopped meeting the challenges. Suppose our companies, our organizations, our teams, our leaders, became stopped trying to meet our needs. The effects would be terrible. When we’re all facing more and more challenges, it’s tempting to take a break from doing the hard work of turning them around. Remember that you’re pacing yourself for a marathon, not a sprint, so you can maintain a steady effort every day.
You’re scared to stand up for your convictions. To lead others requires integrity, a word whose Latin origins mean wholeness and completeness, and which in turn means consistency of character. You can’t lose your convictions or your courage when you’re fighting for a common purpose, and you can’t deny the truth you see in exchange for security or someone else’s agenda. Strong convictions precede great actions.
It’s our duty not only to meet these standards ourselves but to hold others in leadership to them. When a leader becomes lazy, self-indulgent, deceiving, or corrupt, we have to take action and challenge their power.
Here’s why you can’t afford to just stand by and watch because true leadership is about people: people before policy, people before profits, and people before procedures.
If we allow those we don’t respect to lead and those we don’t trust to have influence, we are acting out of fear and living as bystanders. And that’s not going to cut it anymore.
Leadership at its heart is about we the people, it’s not about a self-serving agenda.
There is a deep cry, a true plea for leadership. We are looking for leaders who will hold themselves accountable—to humanity, to character, to virtue.
If you want to make an impact, there’s no better time. Now is your chance.
There is a gap in our leadership and we need you to fill it. We need to you say something and do something.
We are looking for those who have been bystanders to stop being fearful, to take a chance and challenge the status quo. If you are waiting for permission, here it is. If you are waiting for approval, we approve.
We are looking for you… to lead us with heart.
Lead from Within: Leaders become great not because their power, but becasue of their ability to empower others.
Learn more about the gaps that exist in my National Bestseller book:
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- The Remarkable Power of the Truth Teller
- The Test Every Great Leader Must Pass
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness is being released by Portfolio May 2017.