There has never been a better time to be a leader than today. I have been a student of leadership and a practicing leader for over 30 years and this time in which we live has produced the most conducive environments for leaders to thrive.
Shall the real leaders stand up – we need you!
I know my claim may come as a surprise if you’re currently leading. It certainly seems harder to be a leader today. It seems there are more pressures against us and more critics than ever.
You have to go back to some of the basic understandings and definitions of leadership to get my point, The whole purpose and meaning of leadership is being reinforced and proven in this season of leading.
Here are some reasons I think there’s never been a better time to be a leader:
The future is uncertain.
If the last couple of years has taught us anything it’s that we don’t know what changes are coming tomorrow. There is no way to adequately prepare for what is around the corner.
Leadership is designed for this scenario. Leaders help people head into the unknown. When the path is clear you don’t need a leader. You can manage that.
Where there is uncertainty there is risk.
Every good leader I know has somewhat of an entrepreneurial spirit. Risk is appealing to attract quality leaders. This should be especially true for my friends were attempting to walk by faith.
High need for innovation.
We need new answers to old problems. And we need new solutions to new problems.
It’s often been said you can’t keep doing things the same way and get different results. That’s never been truer than now.
Trust is at an extreme low.
Trust is the foundation of all good leadership. Across our culture and in every spectrum of society people need and want to develop trust (often again) in leadership.
This one may not seem appealing at first thought, but it actually means if you can lead with integrity and earn people’s trust you will attract loyal followers.
People are searching for something.
The increase of tension, anxiety and even a sense of hopelessness indicates many people know they are missing something. Often, they aren’t even certain what it is for which they are looking. People need fresh visions for their organizations and their life.
To be clear, leaders can’t always provide that for them and shouldn’t try. The best leaders are collaborators far more than they come with all the answers. But part of our leaders’ job is to bring people together for a common good, synergize the group, find common ground, and develop and empower people for a greater reality.
And this one alone is a perfect for my colleagues who try to lead people into Biblical faith.
Individuality is rampant.
Have you noticed? Everyone has an opinion, and their opinion matters most. (If you haven’t, you’re likely not on social media.)
This is the recipe for confusion and frustration. But leadership is at its best when it is providing clarity of thought and bridging differing points of view to get to a common vision.
Conflict is divisive.
It is perfectly natural to have conflict on issues where people disagree. Today, however, it seems people can’t even agree to disagree. As a result, you are either for a person’s viewpoint or it is like you can’t be friends anymore. How sad!
Great leaders are diplomats. Therefore, leaders should find ways to bridge common ground – even among people who may disagree. They build unity around worthy visions. Therefore, leadership is most successful when it is creating good for others that even people on opposing sides can get behind and support.
Of course, all of this points to a major difference in leading and managing.
You can manage the “knowns” with the right structure and systems. Leadership requires providing something that isn’t necessarily here right now, and you aren’t yet sure how to attain it.
In closing, I’m reminded of this John Kotter quote:
“Management is about coping with complexity. Its practices and procedures are largely a response to the emergence or large, complex organizations in the twentieth century.
Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change. Part of the reason it has become so important in recent years is that the business world has become more competitive and more volatile. More change always demands more leadership.”
The bottom line is it is a time for leadership. It is a great time to be a leader. Yes, it is hard, but all leadership is difficult.