Leaders lead and that’s the obvious truth. What this means for you is that you must be ahead of others – often the first to say, try or do something in order to live into the title of “leader”; even when it’s risky.
Leading sounds particularly simple when you put it in these terms. However, you and I know it’s not that easy; and we know that there are certain opportunities to stand up as a leader that we let pass us by either because we lack courage, we aren’t paying attention, or we’re flocking with the other sheep.
In other words, we’ve lost our way as a leader. We need to be looking for opportunities to lead rather than passively waiting for them to come our way.
If you find yourself making excuses for not addressing an injustice, an ethical or moral violation, or poor treatment of employees in your company, what should you do?
Stand up. This is why standing up is important:
A leader doesn’t let things slide. They don’t turn the other cheek. They don’t explain away bad behaviors in others, no matter whether they are the CEO or the janitor. Leaders notice and do something about it.
A leader doesn’t excuse things that aren’t acceptable in others because they think they don’t matter. Injustice, ethics, and harm to others all matter; and when left to their own devices, these things multiply and cause more harm.
A leader has the courage to speak the truth, to call out the wrongs and promote the rights. They are the first to see it, the first to address it, and the first to stand up and take action.
A leader doesn’t put their own safety ahead of what’s right for others. They have the courage to speak out loud about what they see and call out the injustices in the organization.
A leader is willing to suffer the consequences of standing up for the greater good of others. They know that when they stand up they may cause harm to themselves, but they also know it is the right thing to do.
There is no better example of leadership than the one who is willing to risk their job to say what needs to be said. A leader who stands up stands out, no matter the consequences to themselves.
What are you letting slide or excusing away because of your own fear?