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Daily Leadership Thought #134 – Leaders Don’t Complain, They Take Action

May 9, 2011

Free Annoyed woman emotionally shouting at husband and proving opinion to partner while man browsing laptop and ignoring Stock Photo

It does feel at times that we have become a nation where people like to complain.  People have become very adept at communicating what they don’t like.  Whether it is the cost of living, our current political climate, the action or inaction of our elected officials, the purported selfish behaviors of big business, the impending doom of multiple environmental and social phenomena, the undisciplined behavior of our youth, or the irresponsible actions of our neighbor, there is always something perceived to be wrong or not working.  Leaders must rise above this level of discourse and do something to make a positive difference. Leaders should always be solution and action-oriented.

Ironically, I wonder if it is the level of relative privilege and affluence the average person has these days that has made us so unhappy with things.  The old adage that “the more you get the more you want” seems all too evident in modern society.  Leaders need to confront this dilemma head-on and reinforce the values that have made this country so successful: hard work, shared sacrifice, a belief in the common good, equal opportunity for all, respect for the individual, and the pioneering spirit.  All these values are proactive and positive at their core, challenging to live up to, and require constant focus and commitment.

It’s easy to identify when things are not working, but much harder to fix or improve them.  Although complaining can spur action, that action is always reactive.   While reacting to events and circumstances is part of everyday life, it only ever gets you so far.  Challenging the status quo is a good thing.  Doing it in a productive and positive fashion is critically important to its chances of success.  Building a better tomorrow and brighter future is what leadership is all about.  Helping people rise above their petty differences and perceived obstacles to see this vision is the true test of any leader.