Are we leaders?
What do we contribute to society? Do we give more than we take? Do we make the world more beautiful or uglier?
That is the difference between being a great leader and being a leader by default of having followers. Think of the greatest leaders of all time. How do they handle situations? How do they behave in difficult situations? How do we handle our difficult situations? Justify our behavior or take ownership and try to make the world better? Power and influence does not create an effective leader – humility, inclusion, sacrifice, and courage make an effective leader.
I am not saying we have to accept harmful and hurtful behavior or being treated poorly – walking away works too, not engaging works also. As soon as we engage, we have the potential of putting more toxic words and behavior in society. But, walking away and continuing to create toxic energy instead of actuating kindness is just as bad.
I am going to write about something that some may take political. I don’t usually write about politics but politicians should be leaders, so it is hard to not touch on it.
No one is exempt from leadership.
I was disappointed in the presidential debates. Whether I expected more from one or both or how I feel politically will remain unstated and is irrelevant. For those that would like to have an honest conversation about moving this country forward towards a more loving and compassionate place for all – I’d welcome that conversation, that includes listening, empathy and appreciation of differences. That is what makes us the United States of America. While I wrote this immediately following the first debates, I sat on it to ensure I wrote from a place of leadership and not toxic energy. I hope I succeed. The leadership thoughts remain the same for me, regardless of how long ago the debates transpired.
People believe in their party over kindness, in their person over values. He did this so…. The media did or didn’t so…. I would have X. It is time someone did Y.
I’ve said so many times what I believe defines a true leader is the ability to make the world better. The ability to hold on to and implement our values at all costs.
Give back better.
A leader takes what they are given, processes it and puts out something better. If someone’s bad behavior justifies our own bad behavior – then we are all justified to walk around and cause damage to this world and to others. How does that leave this world and each-other? Very damaged, very hostile and very broken.
A leader defines her/his values and lives by them in every situation. A leader is so resolute in them; so-much-so, no one individual or instance should result in default to compromise. We as leaders can walk away. If we feel that will cost us votes because our voters won’t like that, that says more about our voter’s values than ours and why would we care. And if we are afraid to walk away – that means we value votes over integrity. We have a choice.
No one makes us say things. Yes, something might slip out, but we can say “I am sorry, that isn’t my character and I am not engaging in this” – in the moment or the days that follow. We have sole equity over our behavior and mustn’t continue to blame our choices on others.
I also believe in grace. I only hope leadership; where kindness and strength, empathy and policy, compassion and fairness will find a way into politics and unite our great country that we love.