“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” – Harry S Truman
Being a leader has never been an easy road, and our current times are no different. There is always uncertainty, there is always change, there is always fear. These days, those things seem to exist in record quantities.
It’s an unfortunate reality that the uncertainty and change and fear that is inherent in being a leader causes many people in leadership roles to essentially freeze. They are overwhelmed by all of those things, and they react by not reacting. Or, maybe worse, by actively not reacting – in other words, they figure out how to be really busy not doing any of the things that really matter.
For our organizations to continue to grow and prosper, and for those organizations to have the impact on our communities that we want and need them to have, leaders have to step up when stepping back seems safer. Uncertainty and change and fear don’t mean that progress is impossible – it means it’s extraordinarily possible for those who are willing to seize the moment.
Look at your organization. Where are things unsettled? Where are things rapidly changing in your environment or marketplace? What fears to your people and your customers currently face? The answers to those questions are where your greatest opportunities lie. You have more of an opportunity – not to mention responsibility – to have an impact in turbulent times than when it’s smooth sailing.
Start with yourself. What parts of your role are unclear? That’s an opportunity to create clarity. What parts of your role seem to be changing and requiring new ideas? That’s a place where you can exponentially improve your performance. What are you most afraid of? That’s an chance for rapid growth.
Don’t look at our current chaos as something to be afraid of. Right now, leaders have a greater opportunity to impact their organizations and their communities than at any point in their careers. An opportunity like this will probably never come along again in our lifetimes. Don’t waste it.