“Do not wait for leaders. Do it alone, person to person.”
~ Mother Theresa
I am a big fan of leadership and people who demonstrate great leadership. I am also curious when leaders demonstrate anything but great leadership. Have you noticed that it seems like not a day goes by that we do not learn about some high ranking official or leader that is buried in corruption, lies or hypocrisy? Watergate, bridge-gate, nanny-gate, trooper-gate, bounty-gate: it’s enough to make us all cringe.
The smoking surgeon, the cheating couples counselor, the swindling stockbroker, the corrupt politician- all leave us reaching for new lows of discouragement. Since the beginning of time, there has been good and evil, sinners and saints, leaders and crooks, believers and detractors, contributors and complainers. I doubt that any one of us is all of one and none of the other. But I assure you, for each leader that has disappointed us, there are many more that are and have changed this world for the better and beyond our wildest imaginations.
Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Gates, Jobs, Mandela, Madonna, Angelou, Roosevelt (Theodore and Eleanor), are just a handful of the famous inspiring leaders – the best in their field (and who also have their own flaws). In addition to the legends, there are countless, millions of leaders that live next door, across the street, at the office and in your family that model leadership with service and inspiration. I have friends that could teach a seminar about love. I have an aunt that could write a book on world cultures, a sister in law that could coach you on selflessness, clients that inspire me by their superior work ethic, a neighbor who models support of community, and colleagues that go after their dreams as if they could fly. I learn from others every day. We can all learn from each other and we all have something to teach.
Here’s what I am encouraging us all to consider. We sometimes want our leaders to be perfect and of course nobody is. We waste time focusing just on what’s wrong. Maybe we think that we can do a better job than our leaders. I bet that we probably can in some arenas and probably not in others.
I am not suggesting that we give those who abuse their power a break. My intention is to encourage all of us not to let other people’s failures discourage us. Most of all, don’t let the failure of others feed your fear of achievement or your excuse to do anything but your best. We are all powerful and are all capable of doing amazing things, inspiring the world, reaching impossible heights. We also are all capable of letting others down, disappointing our colleagues and ourselves, or fumbling in the end zone. This paradox is part of the human experience. The same world that brought us Mussolini brought us Jesus. We have fire and water, day and night, sun and rain. Be inspired by brilliance and let disasters offer pause for our own reflection. But please, do not let the failure of others serve as an excuse not to be the best leader that YOU can be. When you do better, the world can do better. When you get better, the world gets better.
We may stumble and so may others. Run your own race, your best race. When you (or others) stumble, collect yourself, learn then keep going. When you reach your goals, celebrate, share, be generous and set new goals. Be inspired by others’ achievements whether they are famous or modest. Learn from others failures and of course from your own. Criticizing is easy and offers little in return. Leading is challenging and offers great rewards. Practice leadership every day, person to person.
Thank you for reading and for sharing this article. I welcome your comments in the below comments section. I wish you great happiness, learning and all the success that you can handle as you continue on your leadership journey.
your coach, fan and friend,
Helping Great Leaders Get Better – Better Leaders Make a Better World
Larysa Slobodian, MA