I recently read my friend Adriaan Groenewald’s article Actively Ridding Society Of Toxic Leaders, and I cannot agree more that we have a great deal of Toxic Leadership in our society. But I have a question … Where did these leaders come from and why were they allowed to exist for so long?
Have we as a global community simply become so complacent that we just accept the status quo for what it is? Are we just in a survival mode and we accept whatever comes our way? Is the yardstick ‘as long as we are okay’ the only standard of measure we have? Don’t we care for our society and those around us, or is it simply someone else’s problem, so long as we are okay?
Adriaan goes on to mention that he would like to raise the “Title of True Leadership”. These are the authentic, inspirational, extraordinary leaders that are around, and probably struggling against the toxic status quo. Yes, we could certainly name and shame the toxic ones, that is always a good option. However I believe we need to teach and enlighten the future leaders, rather than rebuke the current people in power. The basis of my statement is that we are looking for authentic, inspirational and extraordinary – these are characteristics of a leader and like any good characteristic a person can only be judged as having the right characteristics, they cannot say they have them.
By this definition the blame cannot lie with the leaders, but also with the followers who allow themselves to accept those in power, sometimes because there are no alternatives. Therefore we should raise the expectations of followers rather than expect the leaders to change. Inherently we are all lazy and it takes a choice not to be, but if we know better then we can make more informed decisions. That decision would be to choose and accept only the best leaders, therefore eradicating the toxic leaders. It is the old saying of ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ so as the toxic feel the pressure due to the fact that they are not delivering on the expectations of society, then the authentic, inspirational, extraordinary leaders will be there to fill the positions.
In the meantime, while we are all ignorant, obviously the toxic leaders will remain in place. We need to fear the indifference of good men as the ‘Boondock Saints’ so aptly stated.
Will you be part of the new generation of leadership? If this is you – you would like things to change and you are tired of the status quo in leadership, then I encourage you to become active and not remain indifferent to the challenges around you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss the possibilities.