“‘I must do something’ will always solve more problems than ‘Something must be done’.” – Anonymous
We live in a chaotic world. Between global pandemics, economic turmoil, racial issues, environmental challenges, it seems like there’s no end to the obstacles we face. And that’s just the worldwide stuff. There are literally dozens of issues that we are faced with every day as leaders that get in the way of us accomplishing what we want to accomplish.
Part of it is a general feeling of being overwhelmed, part of it is learned helplessness, part of it is probably a bunch of other things, but too many leaders respond to all of that stuff by complaining. Quite often the complaining is directed at the government, or the competition, or employees, or some combination of all of that.
Certainly all of those groups at times can contribute to some of our challenges. But so many leaders are complaining with the perspective that everything is outside their control, so therefore they just won’t do anything. I can’t change the government, so therefore I’ll just sit here and complain about the government because then I don’t have to do anything to try and deal with some of this stuff.
The truth is, however, that as leaders we aren’t allowed to just wait for somebody else to fix our issues. If we’re watching the building burn down while we stand in the driveway with a hose, we don’t get to blame the fire department later for not getting there in time. We have a responsibility to turn on the hose and get to work.
Think about the barriers & challenges you’re facing. What could you do to either eliminate or at least minimize their impact? And when I say “you”, I mean YOU. When specific actions could you take that would make a difference? Sometimes that’s not an easy question. We’ve conditioned ourselves to blame others for our troubles, and the problem-solving part of a brain can get a little rusty.
I’m not suggesting you can completely eliminate every problem you have. Outside sources do have an impact. Things happen that you can’t control. What I’m suggesting is that, even if you can’t perfectly fix something, you can imperfectly improve it, and you have an obligation as a leader to do so.
Stop focusing on what the world is doing to you and start thinking about what you’re going to do to it. Being a leader isn’t about a job title, or money, or prestige, or a big office. Being a leader is about making an impact. That’s why you’re there. Go do your job.