A New Game Show: The Blame Game

Look around you. Put your iPhone down, stop your online shopping for just a minute, and stop posting on Facebook. Take a deep breath, look up, look around, watch, and observe. Listen to what you’re hearing…or not hearing for that matter.

A new gameshow is building both momentum and popularity amongst our Country’s leaders. It’s not Family Feud, it’s not Price is Right, nor is it Let’s Make a Deal. This new gameshow is called The Blame Game. The object is to point as many fingers as possible toward other people and escape both responsibility and accountability. The winner is crowned Teflon Don…or Donna. It’s the ultimate game for losers, and one that is gaining popularity because we allow it to. And the worst part is that there’s not just one winner…there’s many, many, many, many….

Our Country has moved toward a shallow ignorance. A state of numbness where we’ve insulated ourselves from the misguided missteps of our leaders. Everyone gets an unlimited number of “free passes” in The Blame Game, because we allow it. We give a free pass to those who inherited a mess, or those who just can’t make the tough – often times unpopular – decisions. We shrug our shoulders and continue on with our lives moving further and further away from our Country’s founding principles which include very specific references to God, power emanating from the people, a Constitution, private property ownership, and a republic rather than a direct democracy. (How many people would you guess don’t know there’s a difference?)

Our leaders of today are often times winners of a popularity contest. Great orators, sharp dressers, charismatic charmers, and savvy politicians capable of weaving in and out of distressed situations so as to not get to entangled in them whereby they must roll up their sleeves, jump in, get involved, and work toward a solution. They are a group of master delegators not for the sake of efficiency but for the sake of creating political insulation for when things go sideways.

While hope is not a strategy, I do hope (and pray) for a true leader to emerge soon. One that our Country can rally around. One who wants to be held accountable. One who makes decisions based upon their beliefs and convictions, not on polling numbers. One who possesses the character and integrity that promotes family values, personal responsibility, and self-improvement. One who other countries respect and in some cases fear…or at least know they mean what they say. Does such a leader exist? Is he or she already on the path to leadership or are they awaiting a nudge from family or friends to “just do it”? While we can wait and hope for things to get better, we should all go back and re-read our Country’s founding principles. Then and only then will we know whether our hope is possible or misplaced.

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A Thank You for Mom and her Leadership Lessons

MothersDay

Happy Mother’s Day.  The one day of the year where we can all stop and recognize our mom’s for all they do and have done for us along the way.  They teach us many of life’s most important lessons.  They do it in a way that creates lasting impressions along with that second voice in our head that asks, “what would mom think?”  And while father’s instill their own brand of leadership lessons (stay tuned for June), here are few that I have learned specifically from my mom that have helped me be a better person and leader:

  1. Empathy.  Until recently empathy in the workplace, especially in a leadership role was viewed as a weakness.  Soft.  Being empathetic meant you weren’t able to make the tough choices.  However, over the past decade a great deal of research has been done that’s revealed the most effective leaders are empathetic.  The ability to feel and understand others emotions.  It’s the piece that allows you to connect on a deeper level with those you work with.  This is something I learned from mom.
  2. Forgiveness.  We all make mistakes.  Some are bigger than others.  Recognizing an honest mistake versus malicious intent is critical.  Honest mistakes happen every day, and will likely occur in all our lives until the end of time.  Understanding the mistake, its intent, its impact, and the lesson learned is where the act of forgiveness comes in.  Mistakes happen in every workplace, on everyday of the year.  Some mistakes are small with no material impact to the business while others can be quite costly.  Focusing on the mistake itself and not the person is something I learned from my mom.
  3. Faith.  The ability to strongly believe in something with conviction is faith.  Be it in ourselves, others, or God, faith represents one of a handful of traits that separates human beings from all other animals on the planet.  When all the strategizing and planning is complete, a leader must have faith in him or herself, and the team they lead, that they will be able to execute their plan to achieve the desired outcome.  The ability to believe in, or hope for, something better is something I learned from my mom.

There are many other lessons I’ve learned from my mom yet these three stand out.  She’s taught me a lot in my first 46 years and I’m sure there’s much more to learn in the next 46!

Have a great Mother’s Day.  (Love you mom!)