It’s easy to wait for direction.
It’s easy to stay quiet.
It’s easy to receive the gift.
It’s easy to avoid responsibility.
Much harder, it seems, to go on the record. To offer something of value – a solution, a strategy, a proposal, or an approach. To be proactive. To show initiative. Because in that moment of leadership, we become accountability and our actions or our suggestions may lead to failure.
But, if we are not careful, waiting for direction, staying quiet, being a gift receiver, and sidestepping responsibility can usher in a spirit of complaint and criticism. Problems, accordingly, are due to everyone else and their failings. Blame the boss who doesn’t listen. Grumble about the ungenerous board member who “should know the expectation to give!” Complain about colleagues who don’t respond to requests in a timely manner. And never bear responsibility for our circumstances. It’s always something (or someone) happening to us.
If you truly desire to grow professionally, start “un-blanking the page” and provide solutions. If you want more influence with colleagues, call the meeting to discuss the problem. If you want donors to be more generous, propose giving scenarios to them. And, if you want to be happier, use – don’t give away – your agency.
Leadership doesn’t happen because of titles or position. Leadership happens because people are willing to bypass the easy decisions and go on record. Leadership happens because people decide to focus on how tomorrow will be better while leaving the discontents of today behind.
Like so much of life, leadership comes down to a choice.