If you live in the United States, you have to know it is Election Day. Direct mail, yard signs, neighborhood canvassers, radio and television ads and more – all add up to an important day in the life of a democracy.
This post isn’t about politics, and while I have often written about what we can learn from politicians as leaders, the lesson today is different.
The lesson today is something what we, as organization and community leaders, should not do.
I am struck by how much of the political campaigning is about who not to vote for, as opposed to who to vote for (and most importantly, why to vote for them.) I realize there are several reasons why the campaign ads focus the way they do. While some of these reasons are understandable, and some not, none of them apply to the leadership worlds we all live in.
As I have tried to be an informed voter over the last few weeks I have been struck by how hard it is to see where the leaders really do stand (except that they are opposed to their opponent, which should go without saying in most cases).
As a leader, please don’t fall into this trap.
As a leader focus on your vision, where you want to go and why.
Communicate about the future you see for your team, organization or community. Talk about what you believe in. Help people see why the vision you see is important. Help people see how they will benefit.
When we communicate these things consistently and with passion and focus, people will be attracted to us. When we communicate these things we will be truly leading. When we communicate like this we will earn the only votes we need, which is willing people choosing to follow us.
If you live in the U.S. please vote today. There will be many leadership lessons we can glean from our political leaders in the future, and hopefully at least some of them will be things to do, rather than things to avoid.