Leadership’s about more than saying what’s popular

“It is not easy to stand up against your constituents or your friends or colleagues or your community and take a tough stand for something you believe is right.

Because you always want to keep working and live to fight another battle and it might cost you your career.”

Caroline Kennedy

Today’s society has become more sensitive and defensive than ever before.

A direct result of this is much of society has become fanatical in how “politically correct” we all are in what we say and how we behave out in the world.

At times I can’t help but wonder if this new normal is causing us to suppress actual issues no one wants to bring up publically. This suppression of reality is a dangerous place to be, and further erodes the very fibers our nation was founded upon.

Everyone is so concerned with their societal reputation (personally and professionally) that they’ll compromise what they believe in or know is wrong in order to maintain the façade they’ve worked so hard to create.

But problems do not get solved by simply doing and saying what’s “safe” and socially accepted. Tip-toeing around a complicated issue, rather than trying to constructively solve it, has never brought progress to any civilized society.

Instead it breeds hatred and contempt for those who would “do” and “say” whatever makes them popular, rather than what makes them a true and legitimate leader.

American management consultant, educator and author Peter Drucker once remarked, “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked – leadership is defined by results not attributes.”

But the American people aren’t necessarily interested in effective leadership – they simply want a leader who will tell them what they want to hear. Who will continue to maintain the mirage, while refusing to challenge the real-world problems that continually plague society.

Popularity contests might have garnered you “friends” in high school – albeit how “true” those friendships were is questionable. However, popularity rarely spurs on the revolution needed to reshape society through positive change.

Let’s face it, people don’t want to hear what’s wrong with society, or that their lack of action and attention might be to blame for it.

They want to continue living the status quo, while so-called “leaders” in society continue to coddle them with their well-researched and rehearsed messages – all in the name of keeping their popularity strong.

Change does not and will not happen unless you have a bold leader who is more concerned with getting the results we need, not the popularity contest the American people want them to play.

It’s easy to jump on the “politically correct” bandwagon, but what does that really accomplish?

Yes it will retain your popular status in society, but at the end of the day what have YOU done to try and influence change? To take your head out of the sand to see the realities before you, which require true and legitimate leadership to effectively solve problems once and for all.

US Labor Union leader Lane Kirkland once said, “Don’t believe that winning is really everything. It’s more important to stand for something. If you don’t stand for something, what do you win?”