“I meant what I said and I said what I meant,” said Horton the Elephant.
Except for Horton, how would you react if someone looked you in the eyes and said that line? Would you be able to take them at face value? How often do we expect someone to follow up on his or her words, or year after year tell us one thing and then do the opposite? Is this someone you know personally, at work, a volunteer or even an elected official?
This is not an article declaring or deriding our political process, though as we go through the Presidential primary season, some of our candidates might easily seem to fall into my weekly thoughts. Let us be honest, for all the public outcry over the Senate and the House of Representatives passing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), which legally allows certain political persons to be excluded from the law, and most of voters passed the bill without reading the voluminous documents. That election cycle, I did not agree with the process and refused to vote for the standing Congressmen, whether Democrat or Republican. As unfavorable as the polls were, most elected officials were voted back in. For a government, that Abraham Lincoln stated was “…of the people, by the people, for the people…” why do we continually re-elect those that do not do our bidding? These are our representatives who tell us what they think they want us to hear, get elected, then do what they want.
That is an easy target. How about the people we come across where we work or volunteer. How often do we sit in a meeting and someone says they will handle what is being discussed. Then at the next meeting, the item was not addressed, and the conversation feels, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “like déjà vu all over again?” In other environments, there are times where we look towards leadership for guidance. Guidance, believe it or not, is most effective when based on action not words, which means that we are more apt to follow in the footsteps of the leader, as opposed to words expressed or written. Why? Because as humans, we follow the dictate that believing is seeing.
Why do people not step up and what is the lesson that I am driving at?
As if in answer to my question, I received the following from Darren Hardy:
Looks like one of the reasons people do not follow through is a fear of leadership, fear of making the decision, fear of followers and fear of failure. This is again most noticeable in an elected position, where the role becomes more important (prestigious) than taking any action. Promises are made, never kept. Rhetoric is spoken, action never taken. The Pink Floyd song, Dogs, states it correctly when they sing, “You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to…” If they fear failure, why do they think we will not notice that they do? In the subsequent election cycle, they point their fingers, make excuses and continue the lies, yet we ignore their track record, as if history does not matter, and believe them anew when they say their positions and will be accountable for their promises, only to be disappointed again.
As a person in leadership – be bold. Napoleon Hill, in his book The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons, wrote a lesson teaching Self-Confidence. Leadership is having self-confidence, being bold, be willing to make mistakes, take responsibility and be honest. Lead with integrity. Now, those are the traits / people I prefer to follow…