In Action, Change, Leaders

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Joe Sabah

One of the things I hear leaders talk about negatively on a regular basis is people.  They’re frustrated that their people don’t want to work, or don’t want to work enough, that they have a bad attitude, that they don’t take initiative, etc.  Without going down that rabbit hole, I’ll just say that there are plenty of situations where those things are absolutely true.

Unfortunately, too often, leaders aren’t much better.  It may show up in different ways, but at the core, the leadership of many organizations isn’t much different than the people they’re complaining about.

Plenty of leaders are busy, but they’re busy doing things that don’t matter much, or don’t have much of an impact, or don’t even need to be done.  Then they talk about how busy they are as though that in itself is an accomplishment.  Meanwhile, they aren’t willing to do the hard things that separate great organizations from everyone else.

Plenty of leaders have terrible attitudes.  I won’t say it’s the majority, but there are plenty of leaders and leadership teams that really don’t do much besides complain.  They complain about their people, they complain about their customers, they complain about the competition, they complain about the government, and on and on.  You name it, and they’ll complain about it, and they’ll drag everyone else down with them.

Plenty of leaders sit around and wait for things to happen, rather than trying to make things happen.  They don’t make a decision, or they don’t have a conversation, or they don’t address a situation that needs addressing.  Then they wonder why they and their organization seem to be driving down the road with no steering wheel.  They have a steering wheel, they just won’t use it.

Think about yourself as a leader.  When you’re frustrated with the people in your organization, look in the mirror.  Am I any different?  Worse, am I modeling the behavior that I’m criticizing them for?

I’m not suggesting that as a leader you never have the right to be upset with your people.  Quite often, the things that you’re frustrated about are absolutely legitimate.  I’m simply suggesting that perhaps there is more work that needs to be done on ourselves.  Get to work.

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