Nov
26

On Leadership Revolutions

by  Mike Henry  |  Leadership Development

What are you afraid of?

If you’re like me, there are times when you are proud of who you are. You’re glad you did what you did. But those times never happen when I’m afraid. Every choice I make out of fear is inconsequential at best and regrettable at worst.

We claim we’d like to instigate a character-based leadership revolution. In thinking about the scope of the revolution, I realized I’ve been thinking small. I had convinced myself that was a humble perspective.

Levels of revolution

  1. Personal – When we decide we’re going to lead differently. We stop thinking we have to get permission to lead. We take the lead, take responsibility, and adopt (and develop) a leadership attitude.
  2. Organizational – We decide we’re going to change the way we treat people close to us. We expect them to lead. We challenge them to solve for results rather than following tasks. We encourage open dialogue and thought and challenge organizational status quo. We embrace a bit of chaos so we don’t deflate the new energy and excitement that may come as people take more responsibility for their actions.
  3. Greater than organizational…

On Leadership Revolutions | Lead Change GroupI don’t have a good handle on the next level or levels. My brain hasn’t gone there.  The rest of this post is a question: How do we define revolution? Can we define revolution in some way that is greater than simply organizational? Would it be national or global? Would it be political or ideological? I don’t know.

Can we do it without guns or violence?

“But if you want money for people with minds that hate, All I can tell you is brother you’ll have to wait” Revolution – Paul McCartney and John Lennon

I am certain of one thing: whatever follows organizational revolution will be the result of organizational revolutions. Organizational revolutions are the result of personal revolutions. We won’t have organizational revolutions that are counter-to or other-than the result of the personal ones. Therefore the next level will not have a particularly different look and feel than something we might expect from the organizational or personal revolutions that preceded it.

Back to my fear. I confess I haven’t been too uncomfortable reading Lead Change Group posts lately. Have you? I’m afraid I’ve become complacent.

I’d like the Lead Change Group to be a place where people can challenge and be challenged in their leadership thought. That challenge will contribute to the personal revolutions and the organizational revolutions we desire to see. But out of fear, I’ve encouraged us to stop short. We stop short when we avoid confronting problems relating to poor leadership in areas of personal conflict. Politics and Religion come to mind, but those aren’t the only ones.

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” Mario Andretti

So what am I afraid of? What about you? What are you afraid of? Are we willing to write about leadership in the area of our greatest discomfort? Could writing about and confronting our fear be the key to greater revolutions than those we’ve experienced to date? Are you willing to try?

I’ll be writing more about faith and political leadership. My goal is to expand the revolution, not to offend those I most wish to convert. Therefore I will avoid finger pointing and critical thought. I’ll use “I” and “me” statements instead of “you” or “they.” I don’t want to point a finger nearly as much as I want to provide new ideas.

“Remember, the things you criticize, just a few months or years ago, were someone else’s great ideas.” Dominic Sokolosky

In any area where you feel there is a gap between the leadership we’d like to be and what we’re experiencing today, you best speak up. Remember too, there are no guest posts. But if you’d like to write, the high road never has a rush hour, and there are plenty of open spots on the front lines. Load your gun and let’s see what we can do in the coming months.

Also, comment and disagree.  Can we disagree in a way that encourages dialogue?  I guess that may be the topic of another post.  Let me know what you think.

And if all of this is offensive to you, well I’m surprised you read to here. I hope you leave for the right reasons. May I (we) never be afraid people will leave for the right reasons. I hope you find your revolution, even if this one isn’t it.

Special thanks go to the people who first confronted me on this idea, Jack King and Georgia Feiste. Connect with them and tell them I said “Thank you!”

Photo © Ogen iStockPhoto

About The Author

Articles By mike-henry
Chief Instigator (Founder) of Lead Change Group and VP of IT for a mid sized technology company. Passionate about character-based leadership and making a positive difference.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Jon Mertz  |  26 Nov 2013  |  Reply

An inspiring call to lead, Mike! At all levels – personal, organization, and higher purpose or cause, we need to understand our leadership call and then lead with it every day. Being unchallenged leads to complacency. Being silent leads to wrongful actions. Being unresponsive leads to undesired consequences. We need to lead with confidence, humility, empathy, and strength of principles. In the intersection of these elements, we lead with a renewed mindset. Jon

Mike Henry  |  28 Nov 2013  |  Reply

Jon, thanks for the comment. I appreciate the thoughts. To me one of the greatest things about the associations we’ve established here on Lead Change is the quality of the people who challenge us and who won’t remain silent. Challenging one another makes all of us better.

Happy Thanksgiving. Mike…

Mary C Schaefer  |  26 Nov 2013  |  Reply

Great job, Mike. Yes, I read to “there.” I’m encourage and inspired to challenge myself as part of our revolution. Thank you for your leadership.

Mike Henry  |  28 Nov 2013  |  Reply

Thanks back Mary. I appreciate your comment and your involvement in the group. The great people in this community make me a better person and a better leader. Thank you! Mike…

Join The Conversation