Leadership optimize

Real leaders get involved

The majority of US citizens didn't not vote on November 2. Executive leadership coach John McKee believes that real leaders don't act like the majority--they find the time to make sure they get it done, just like they do on the job.

In talking to clients, and others I've been in contact with recently, it seems a lot of individuals are simply "turned off" by the whole voting process -- particularly those under the age of 40. Women didn't seem to be any more likely to vote than men this time around.

Regardless of their political bent, gender, or age, these individuals are taking the easy way out. They are behaving in a herd mentality with comments like, "most of the people I know are not voting either," to justify not getting involved.

I think this trait is telling. For many, this attitude shows that they don't feel like they can make a difference. They often feel they have no "power" to influence the outcome whether it's for a local, statewide, or national election.

A lot of people are like that in organizations as well. You know who I mean -- they're the ones who sit back and talk about what bad decisions are being made by the bosses, or they scorecard an individual's bad results and often whine about what's going wrong at the office. They have, to a large extent, disempowered themselves with their attitude. Rather than making concrete suggestions (even anonymously), they sit back, wait for failure, and then tell everyone "they knew that would happen."

Others -- the minority -- get involved. As a result, these individuals often end up in a leadership position, because the people in charge can see that they've got stuff that others don't; they get the nod. These are the players who cause change internally. They figure out how to get a budget approved even when money is tight. They have new approaches about getting things done in a tough environment and usually deliver on time while others are busy complaining about how hard things are nowadays.

They are real leaders.

Real leaders do what's needed to fix things. They don't sit idle and keep score; they get in the game and contribute what they can to make life better. And because of who they are, they know it's important to vote.  They don't accept the concept that, "One vote won't make any difference." because they know that the power of one individual really can improve things -- in a major way. So they clear enough time to get out and make a difference.

Real leaders vote. And they help others find the time to do the same.

Here's to your future.

John

Leadership Coach

About

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

14 comments
HR IT Geek
HR IT Geek

I tried and tried to justify your use of the double-negative "didn't not" (vote) but, alas, could not. "Didn't not" means that they DID vote, which does not fit with the point of your column. Did you really mean to use "didn't not," which means that the majority of U.S. citizens DID vote on Nov. 2, or was it simply that I couldn't not figure out what you were trying to say?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

How do you reconcile your position with your lack of interaction here? No apparent TR account, no participation in discussions of your topics, no way to peer mail within the TR network.

nvrtis
nvrtis

You forgot one option in your poll. Yes I voted, but I still don't think it will make a difference.

michael.brodock
michael.brodock

I propose that Wednesday is civic duty day. On this day, all Americans of voting age are required by law (we can impose civic fines) to study the issues at hand via the Internet or their local library. Those that do not have reasonable access to either, can be excused from this duty. Then the people themselves vote on the issues, not Congress or the President. Their function would be to clarify issues and implement the people's will once they have voted. For a fair representation of the issues, firstly it must all be written at the 8th grade level. Anyone will be able to post up arguments for, against, or make suggestions during the process. The current system only favors those who are privileged to be a part of it. No law should be passed that does not apply to those making the law.

rodneyk
rodneyk

Leaders set the best example. Even when it is inconvenient, they have a plan to get important things done. So they plan to accomplish the difficult, intrusive tasks. The lesson learned from this election is to plan to vote during early voting period prior to election day.

ricksiple
ricksiple

Wow. The author tries very hard to make a comparison between leaders who put in their own time and resources and work hard to build something and voting whereby lots of people who probably aren't qualified to run their own lives get to decide who is going to run our lives. No. The declining participation in elections is the dawning realization that the system is rigged and always has been. It is the collusion between politically connected businesses and government to advance their own interests at the expense of the citizenry. The meager collection of candidates from which to select is just part of the bread and circuses to keep the proles entertained and make them believe they have a say in things. The more people that see past the smoke and mirrors and refuse to participate the more likely we can start to scale back or replace the current system with something that serves us better. To borrow an already tired phrase: That is Hope and Change.

itadmin
itadmin

Absolutely. The biggest beneficiaries of democracy are the democratically elected politicians. That goes for every democratic country. Most of you will know the Abraham Lincoln statement about one not being able to fool all the people all the time, but all people some of the time and some people all of the time. A politician in a democratic system just has to be able to fool more people than his opponents around election time. As such a politician is brother to the con man. He has to aim his pitch at the masses, the great unwashed who are in the majority. And what so impresses these people? Slogans, rhetoric, platitudes, all of them empty. "We will go forward!" What about logic like, "we must earn more than we spend" or "we must decrease our dependency on oil imports, and the best way to do that is to drive smaller cars"? You won't hear that from a winning candidate. In the USA a politician needs a costly campaign to get elected. Funds are supplied by pressure groups to whom this politician is beholden should he get into office. Nobody can tell me that is right. The best thing about democracy is that it gets incompetents into office who can't do too much harm. Not only are they too incompetent to do that, but the different parties are mostly so busy bickering that they are too busy to do anything else.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Shame the US has none then.

Kenone
Kenone

The gang of misfits we have in politics in this country are only "in politics" because the convicts don't want them in prison. No one who wants an administrative job in government should ever be voted for by any one. Sadly there are nearly no Americans who can grasp this concept.

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

would get most of the nitwits out in a decent time frame and would prevent them from wasting time and money on trying so hard to keep themselves in a cushy job. If people got in and got out after doing a hard few years' work, I think things would go better for the rest of us peons. I vote every chance I get, because I have no right to complain if I have no influence in the decisions being made. I don't know that this makes me a "leader" vs. a disgruntled, concerned citizen. Granted, I'd prefer people in office who actually DID SOMETHING besides vote themselves raises and make a career out of campaigning but I work with what I've got.

CareerCoach
CareerCoach

Why?

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

Part of the problem intelligent people notice with voting is that it is a waste of time, at least if you think there are actual, definable principles of government. If you think the correct action will always be the most popular one, then voting will uncover the correct policies. But in reality, voting merely uncovers the most popular 'solution.' It is the same with 'leadership' in many organizations. Facts are largely irrelevant to many managers who talk about stroking egos in order to 'get things done.' We can vote against global warming or a heliocentric solar system all we want but that doesn't change what happens physically and biologically. It is the same with process improvement and dealing with managerial egos. If they aren't willing to talk facts, then we aren't going to get the right thing done regardless of how many orifices I kiss so therefore, I might as well save my own time and energy and simply collect facts and write proposals until it becomes obvious to the folks 'in charge' what the correct course of action is. Getting everybody on board is easy. Getting everybody on board the right train is almost impossible when the train is chosen by ego or desire instead of by determining exactly what the correct actions are that will lead us to the goal. Rent Control is always popular and always detrimental to the infrastructure of a city. Look at the Tea Party Republicans. They can easily meet their stated goals of rolling back health care, decreasing taxes, and cutting down on the size of the government. But they cannot do that AND fix the economy. That consequence isn't subject to belief or popularity. However, I did vote. You do have to be somewhat involved which is why I write the white papers for the managers.

Greybeard770
Greybeard770

Sometimes it seems like your choices are to vote for the fool or the criminal and that get depressing because you feel like you lose no matter who you vote for. Sometimes it's hard to get good information about candidates for some less visible offices. But it you have an opinion about one item on that ballot then take the time and opportunity to check that one box. If you only want to vote about the local sales tax and leave everything else blank I can totally respect that.

sboverie
sboverie

I vote because it is one of the responsibilities that come with citizenship. I try to understand the issues and make the best vote for my own self interest.