When you talk about leadership a great deal, like we do, every once in a while someone will ask you…
Why should I really care? Can’t an organization just be managed to reach its maximum potential?
In reality, I think it’s quite different. Leadership is all about thinking in time, anticipating, and dealing with change. It demands creating trust and confidence in the organization and cohesion amongst the team.
In a 2019 survey of Americans, 35% of those polled said that poor leadership was in fact the biggest problem facing America. And a vast majority of those Americans said that if we didn’t figure out some way to improve that institutionally across our nation, that the United States would perhaps lose its place in the world.
If you look across how people have felt about institutions (public schools, government, media, congress, military, banks, large organizations, etc.) you’ll find that over time American’s confidence in those organizations have generally drifted downward, in a period since the early 1990s until 2017-2018.
Now the good news is we’ve seen a slight uptick in the last couple years, but right now still American confidence overall in institutions in general is at somewhat of a record low of about 30%.
Some institutions are doing quite well. People have a high respect for the American Military as an institution as well as the Supreme Court. Other institutions have not done so well. Believe it or not, the United States Congress sometimes drifts around 9-10% of approval as an institution.
And if you look at similar surveys, you might be surprised to learn that almost as many people in the United States think that socialism is a good idea, as have trust and confidence in the United States Congress.
So how do we do that? How do we improve the trust and confidence people have in institutions? It takes leaders who can make those organizations effective, think in time, anticipate, and deal with change.
Surveys have shown that Americans look for the following things in the leaders that they want to follow: honesty, intelligence, that they’re decisive, they’re organized, they’re innovative, and to some degree that they’re ambitious— both individually and for the success of their organization or institution.
So as you reflect on this, I would like you to think hard about what leadership means to you— for both yourself and your organization, and why we need to think about this as we move into the future.
We want to hear from YOU! Why do you care? Share your comments below.