Let’s Leap over the Leadership Hurdle

Leading is an energy-creating “verb x30” which Alaka‘i Managers commit to:
How are you leading today?

‘Leadership’ is supposed to be a good thing, right?
So why is it such a formidable hurdle for us so often?

Or maybe a better question is, why must we wait for their permission, or their problem-solving, whomever “they” happen to be?

I’ve been thinking about how utterly dependent many of us can be on those in “leadership positions.” We wait for others to make decisions for us, or move to game-changing actions instead of seizing that action ourselves.

I am thinking about this dependence a lot lately, for unfortunately, there are a ton of examples to watch and I can’t not think about it.

For example, think about our Friday Furloughs here in Hawai‘i education. Why is it that so many schools (and parents) wait for the governor, the legislature, or the teacher’s union to solve the problem of getting our keiki back in school, instead of demanding more at-the-school changes by principals and at-each-location administrators? Seems to me our academic business models have been broken for a while now, begging some kind of reinvention… Why was a prolonged recession draining state and county coffers necessary for us to see it? Did school administrators actually think it was not their job to run as lean as possible all the time? In years past, did they channel any extra money in good times toward the competitive edges of learning, instead of fattening foundational basics (from which we now bleed)?

Lead is a verb we ALL can take action with

At the core of most “not my Kuleana [reponsibility]” issues associated with leadership, is the faulty thinking that only those in so-called “leadership positions” can make the big decisions or major changes which are necessary to make a real difference.

That is simply not true, and the rest of us cannot give away our power so submissively. It’s downright foolish to do so. Sticking with the Friday Furlough example, we are all discovering that waiting for our perceived leaders is very inefficient – if it works at all (and in this case, it isn’t working” our legislators and school administrators are not getting our children back in school, are they.)

If you are a perceived ‘Leader’ don’t be a martyr

In other words, get us to solve our own problems, and don’t do it for us, for you aren’t helping. You are not making us stronger or better, you are enabling our weaknesses.

Please, take our Alaka‘i definition of ‘leading’ to heart, and get the rest of us to share in it with you: Do your part with boosting us over this hurdle of not forging our own destiny by means of solving our own problems. Hold the right people accountable: It makes them stronger and better. Lead to help create the energy they can continually tap into and flourish with.

Sharing your leadership permission with others could be the best Christmas gift you give them.

What is true leading all about? From the archives:

3 Ways Managers Create Energetic Workplaces

Our Say “Alaka‘i” vocabulary is worth repeating:

  • LEADERSHIP is the workplace discipline of creating energy connected to a meaningful vision.
  • MANAGEMENT is the workplace discipline of channeling that mission-critical energy into optimal production and usefulness.

Great managers cannot channel good energies they are unaware of, or energy which doesn’t exist. And remember ”“ you can’t shift this responsibility to someone else within our discussions here: Alaka‘i managers are those who both manage and lead. We refer to management and leadership as disciplines, not as separate roles, titles, or positions on an org. chart. If a designated leader is not creating energy, then the buck stops with you. Make it your Alaka‘i Kuleana.

Photo credit: Cardinal Health picnic by Lisa Brewster on Flickr

sayalakai_rosasay My mana‘o [The Backstory of this posting]
Each Tuesday I write a leadership posting for Say “Alaka‘i” at Hawai‘i’s newspaper The Honolulu Advertiser. Here is the link to the original article there: Let’s Leap over the Leadership Hurdle.