In Tribes, Godin talks subtly about the transition in leadership from autocrat to servant. The section is titled The Posture of a Leader. He lists a series of shifts that we need to be aware of. For example, “If you are a student in my class and you don’t learn what I’m teaching, I’ve let you down.”
He goes on, “It’s really easy to insist that people read the manual. It’s really easy to blame the user/student/prospect/customer for not trying hard, for being too stupid to get it, or for not caring enough to pay attention.”
Do you find yourself blaming others? Do we blame those we would like to engage when we have failed to create something that inspires? I’ve often wondered that related to Lead Change. Many people get involved but fail to do much. Some get engaged in an attempt to maximize their benefit from the group. Their relationship with Lead Change is transactional. I spoke with one person a few weeks ago who chose not to become an Instigator in Lead Change “because I can get all of that for free elsewhere.” To which I responded, “You certainly can.”
I often wonder if I fail to explain the ideas about Lead Change Group in a way that people will hear. But I also understand there are (a growing) few who understand that leadership isn’t something you get. Leadership is something you give. Developing as a leader requires that we learn to serve a larger purpose, team, goal, organization, tribe or community. Leaders serve people who share a common goal, objective or mission.
Think about your team, organization or community. Do we continue to behave a particular way and expect people to respond differently than they did before? If I continue to whine about my team’s performance, at some point is their performance my fault or theirs? If I continue to complain about politicians, maybe we get politicians who represent us, look like us and behave like us. Maybe I’m not as different as I’d like to believe. Maybe we’re not who we think we are. Maybe we only have ourselves to blame.
Have you decided to do everything you can? What would happen if you took responsibility to change everything you could in a particular relationship or situation. What types of reactions would you get? Where can you take responsibility today and stop complaining about “them” or “those people”? There is no “they”.
“We have met the enemy and he is us.” Pogo – Walt Kelly, 1971
My hope is that Lead Change will be a place where we can be our best and bring our best self to make a positive difference. Who’s stopping you from taking the lead? What can you do differently today?
In the summer of July 2010, we launched the community blog. Since that time, we’ve had a number of posts, comments, authors and members. We just launched a new Google+ community too, thanks to Jon Mertz and Susan Mazza. You don’t like Google+, we’ve got LinkedIn and Facebook too. We keep trying new things to help people engage and take the lead. But we don’t have all the answers. Heck, we don’t even have most of the questions.
But we do have one good question: What can I do to make this community more valuable to you? Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts. My dream is that Lead Change plays an integral part in your decision to change the world.