Opportunity for Leadership
“Great leaders unite people to solve problems”
In this day of instant news and grassroots movements, the opportunity for leadership is abundant. This became apparent when Colin Kaepernick and John Legend made strong statements concerning issues they believe need attention now. Colin Kaepernick decided to use his public presence and shock value to bring awareness to issues of oppression by sitting down during the national anthem. John Legend was quoted as saying the United States national anthem was a weak song. Obviously both were, by design, done to bring awareness to the issues they believe in.
So aside from the obvious discussions of why we stand for the United States anthem and whether the comments made make anyone less patriotic, what about the leadership style that was displayed? The argument could be made that an opportunity to positively promote awareness on important issues has been masked with discussions concerning patriotism. The act of sitting during the national anthem and the statement that the anthem is a weak song has created a division between the individuals trying to create awareness and the public they wished to connect with. It also completely shadowed their message with criticism and other discussions.
Why did their efforts fail to raise awareness of their intended message? Their heart was in the right place. One individual sat because they felt strongly people are being mistreated, the other made a statement to support him when criticism started to boil over on social media and news outlets. The reason the efforts failed was because leadership skills were not applied at the foundation of their messages beginning.
Leaders influence others to WANT to do the right thing. If the goal of Kaepernick was to stop oppression, as a leader dividing the people you wish to promote your message was the incorrect way to go about it. You do not gain influence by starting from a negative foundation and offending those you wish to receive your message. The negativity was only compounded when Legend doubled down and insulted millions of Americans by stating the national anthem was weak.
A true opportunity for leadership was missed and the conversation the advocates wished to have cannot be heard because it is now about them. As leaders we must always strategically think about what we want to accomplish. Never focus on the emotion of the topic, it will cloud judgment and cloud minds. The goal is to positively execute your goals. You cannot reach goals as an individual. No matter how hard you work at some point you will need someone to help you along the way. Leaders who are successful unite people toward one goal and focus on the task at hand. It is okay to be emotional and passionate about a goal, truthfully I would argue essential to meeting them. Actions not thought out, based on emotion are destined to fail or best case scenario garner mediocre results.
Harness that emotion, that passion, and concentrate it into a laser focus. When that is done strategic decisions will be made and goals will be met. Fight for what you believe in, your goals, just do it the right way. Great leaders unite people to solve problems. People will want to follow a leader like that.
Founder, Heart Soul Auto