Our world needs people who can lead positive change!
It requires unshakable vision, grit and character. Recently I’ve been watching a story develop in the U.S. that is worth studying – Even if you don’t live there.
For those that aren’t aware of this story, this is a quick look at the facts:
Colin Kapernick is a professional football player that recently decided to exercise some of the freedom our country grants everyone.
He decided to stay seated during our national anthem, as the rest of the stadium stood and honored our flag and our country.
Colin says he is protesting because, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
His decision created a lot of heated debate with some people criticizing his patriotism, some people defending his right to protest and others applauding his reason for protesting.
It did not take long to discover that Colin chose to wear socks with pictures of pigs in police uniforms during practice, which caused more debate.
A short time later he met with a Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret Soldier and professional football player with his own passion for freeing the oppressed. Their conversation resulted in Colin’s decision to kneel; instead of sitting the next time the National Anthem was played.
Colin has also indicated that he will donate $1 Million to help those affected by police injustices.
Lessons for Change Leaders:
Have you ever realized you needed to change your behavior to be more effective but over-corrected?
- …Like learning to drive, and turning the wheel to fast or hitting the brake too hard and then doing the complete opposite?
A titled leader I know has a great gift for detail.
- He makes a plan, works his plan, dots i’s crosses, t’s, and always delivers before the deadline.
- If you have a question about a project, he’s researched it, and has a file full of information that can help you.
The challenge is that he is not an attention seeker and he doesn’t fight for the spotlight.
Not long ago I met with someone that was struggling because new team members were speaking up and contributing at a higher level than he was comfortable with. He had a bigger title, more experience, and a deeper understanding of the organization’s history. He trusts the detailed work that the founders of that organization did to set it up and feels like is his it responsibility to ensure that their guidelines are followed. The new team members either don’t know or don’t fully understand that history, but they have strong skills, great experience, a huge desire to serve and are unafraid to challenge the status quo.
It was good for me to hear this man’s perspective, as I am usually on the other side of that experience –Deeply believing that:
Once upon a time, I hired a fun-loving woman with great recommendations, strong experience, and impressive tenure. (True Story!)
Not long after she joined our team she began to struggle. Things that she thought would be easy to learn were harder than normal, which chewed away at her confidence, which made it even harder to learn, which ate away even more confidence. Sometimes when we spoke privately, tears flowed.
At one point she shared that in her last role she was so confident that she would put on a pink feather boa. And when she wore it – everyone knew a special announcement was going to be made. Here she wanted to be her authentic self, but was afraid…
Each time we spoke, I would remind her:
- She was grieving. (She had just left a role that she knew backwards and forwards and upside down in a place where she felt understood, appreciated and loved and moved and started a new job.)
- She really was smart, capable, fun and wanted!
- She was focusing more on her mistakes and emotions than on what she knew she could bring and that was causing her to struggle harder.
Sooner or later we will all find ourselves in a situation where we could be leading up…
- And will will need to choose to either accept what is happening, speak for change, or move on.
Each time I find myself in that situation the words below grow more powerful…
God grant me…
The serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change those I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference..
Last week I read a very powerful article by Alli Polin that emphasized how leadership thrives when two people work closely together and titles don’t matter.