As I watch the news and see different leadership figures and politicians using the pandemic to further their agenda or attack someone else, I cannot help but be frustrated. I see instances of individuals hoarding supplies or buying essential items to resell for a profit, and I think to myself how interesting it is to see the true colors of some people.
But among all the noise and disunity created by those people, I also see the selfless acts of others, particularly those in the medical profession or in other essential jobs, and I’m reminded to look for the positive and recognize that there are many extraordinary leaders among us. And it’s times like this in which we need those leaders the most.
As a 12-year military veteran, I have had great leaders and poor leaders. I have seen what can happen when you have poor leaders in times of crisis, and it is not a pretty sight. Leaders who are more concerned with their own needs or their own glory can easily harm others simply because of their positional authority and self-serving motivations.
In light of this pandemic, I want to reflect on the importance of leadership, especially during a global crisis that none of us have ever experienced before.
First, I want to challenge those in positions of leadership to review their actions and decisions over the past few weeks and ask themselves, “Did I fulfill the responsibilities of my position with the needs of my subordinates in mind? Or did I do so with a self-serving spirit?” After reflecting on this, I implore leaders who recognize flaws in their approach to course-correct immediately and change your approach. Apologize to those under your charge and own the mistake. Commit to doing better. Do the hard work to earn their trust no matter how long it takes you.
Second, I want to challenge those leaders who are waiting in the wings. To the leaders who know they can help and might be able to mitigate some of the fallout from this pandemic or any other crisis your company is facing, it’s time to step up to the plate. You may not have the leadership title, but the world needs leaders right now more than ever and there’s a way you can do this without stepping on toes. You might be leery of getting involved because you are afraid of failing. Regardless of the reason, it is time you did whatever you are able to. It is time to help those who need you.
Leadership does not have to be perfect. It does not have to be glorious. And it certainly does not have to be rewarded in every single case. Leaders are called to give of themselves in times of need, and I do not think anyone would argue with the fact that our country has a larger need right now. The question to all those leaders who have not gotten in the game for whatever reason is, “What are you waiting for?”
President Eisenhower is said to have described leadership as “the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” There are plenty of volunteers right now who want to help. Some are sitting at home in front of the television just waiting for the call. But without those who are willing to raise their hand to lead, those volunteers will remain idle.
This content was originally published here.