“Every day we negotiate the level of hypocrisy we will tolerate.” Rick Wormeli
There is a deep level of reflective power in that statement. Yet, it can be difficult to acknowledge and internalize. As leaders, it makes us wince…considering. For everyone else, it turns us inward, reflective. For it is as much a life consideration, as it is a leadership reflection. For it affects all facets of life.
And yet, each day we walk into our organizations and wrestle with that very concept. What we can and will take on…or won’t. What we will and won’t allow. What we are willing to address…or dismiss. What we will seek out and what we will fail to notice. Issues of…
Alignment. Trust. Vision. Values. Communication. Traditions. Stories. Behaviors. Structures. Rituals. Routines. Beliefs. Practices…
And for better or worse, the bottom line is that responsibility of what we will or won’t tolerate rests on the shoulders of leadership. A burden we must bear. For when we sign up to lead, we enlist in the effort to bring change, and with change comes conflict. And conflict is never easy. However, one does not come without the other.
And while it is not fair to surmise that a leader can change everything and be everywhere at all times. They do have to determine what they will and won’t stand for…as a leader and as an organization. And they have to convey that message with clarity across the organization. At all levels.
And yes, sometimes it is very difficult to turn over that rock and peek under to see what lies beneath. Even when every inch of your inner voice is screaming, “Let it alone”. But, that is what a leader does…it is who they are. They face the brutal truths of their circumstances.
Courageous leaders refuse to leave any rock unturned. They understand the cost of turning that rock over…and they also acknowledge the price they may pay for avoiding it. Leadership is cast in the courage to turn that rock over…to face those issues lying underneath and on the other side…the Traditions, the Stories, Behaviors, Structures, Rituals, Routines, Beliefs, and Practices that are a entrenched deeply in the organization’s culture. The foundation that firmly roots them in the status quo.
However, that is also where change is realized…where the seeds of excellence are sown. And each day, the more we wrestle with and face…the stronger we grow as leaders and the better our organizations are for it.
When leaders are authentic, transparent, diligent, persistent, and act with clarity, foresight, integrity…these issues remain at the forefront and receive the attention that is necessary for an organization to move forward. Which is the courage of leadership. For it is when we are diligent, persistent, and deeply invested in our organization and those we serve, we are able to overcome these obstacles. From which we are free to create an environment of excellence.