“Without sufficient self-confidence, people lack the conviction for taking on tough challenges. The lack of self-confidence manifests itself in feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, and crippling self-doubt.” – The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes & Posner. I read this passage, and it struck a deep chord with me but not about myself. I applied this statement to the leaders in power today. I have been feeling very frustrated with the country’s current economic situation and response within the global arena, specifically the Middle East. My feelings of frustration are carried alongside emotions of helplessness and powerlessness when reading the news each day. When applied to the statement from The Leadership Challenge, it makes sense – I have little confidence in the leadership at present. This lack of confidence stems from the current absence of action.
While looking through news bits, almost every other article includes the words “leadership” and “action”. These two words are not synonymous, but they do work together. Leaders are those who drive toward results and accomplishments, which require taking action. Taking action is something that teams sometimes fail to do because of a fear of reprisal, repercussion or not having the guidance or authority to act. What is needed to drive the team forward is a true LEADER who is willing to take some risks and has some power (formal or informal) to do so. Due to the inter-relationship of these forces, it is easy to draw the conclusion that we expect and need leaders to ACT! When they don’t, the opening statement becomes true.
I will take a moment to digress into a more personal point of view – something I normally refrain from with this blog. My frustration has nothing to do with political parties and is not directed at the president but at our overall government and current paralysis of clear direction. Those who serve in government and the military take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, against all enemies foreign and domestic; that they will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. I took that oath, and I still hold it sacred to my heart, even out of military service. What is occurring overseas right now are attacks on our sovereign soil (embassies are considered part of the parent county’s land), no different than the attacks on 9/11. The response so far has been tepid at best.
I agree we should not storm blindly into fights; however, I feel we are in no way asserting ourselves (even through political speeches) and standing up for what is right and wrong in accordance with our Constitution. Today is Constitution Day – a day to remember exactly what our founding fathers wrote to help define our country. Those men took action and with it birthed our great nation. My personal expectation is for our current government leaders to ACT both domestically and abroad, and as long as they do not, I feel powerless and helpless although never in doubt of America.
CEO, The Professional Development Team