Tuesday, 18 September 2018
It’s not enough!
Increasingly I see those in leadership – business, politics, academia – taking strong positions against those who are in control. They shout; they protest; they complain. They use the media, social media, feet on the street, or the courts to send a message. The message is almost always a negative one.
We stand against you!
We stand against your values!
We stand against your policies!
In some cases they may have a valid argument. But that is not enough. You cannot simply be against something. If you oppose another’s position, you must instead be ‘for’ something. And you must be able to articulate it in such as manner so as to demonstrate that your message is not only contrary to the present order but that it is also viable and with merit.
Opposition is easy.
You can stop traffic by simply sitting in the middle of the road. But if your intention is to change traffic patterns, that takes much more thought and preparation. And therein lays the rub.
Too few leaders are willing and/or able to constructively oppose. It takes too much work. It takes too much thought. And it takes too much risk. These people are like water and find the path of least resistance.
Opposition is crucial to improving circumstances. As iron sharpens iron, constructive opposition…constructive criticism…is imperative as we evolve in every aspect of our daily lives. Business, politics or academia must always be seeking the ‘next’ in terms of best practices. And that occurs at the junction of ‘position vs opposition’.
Are you leading in a manner that encourages thoughtful and respectful dialogue? Are you willing to be challenged and to open your mind to options your once discarded or never considered.
Leadership does not imply that YOU have all the answers. But it does expect that you are willing to search for them regardless of the ultimate source.