Starved for Leadership

So a quote from one of my most favorite movies (“The American President” starring Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, and Michael J. Fox) goes like this:

Lewis Rothschild: People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.
President Andrew Shepherd: People don’t drink the sand ’cause they’re thirsty. They drink the sand ’cause they don’t know the difference.

Is this true?  Is leadership in this country, in your community, in your work, in your home so lacking that those around you are prepared to follow anyone that steps up, regardless of what they are “selling”?

I think it is time that as individuals we stop drinking the sand and say to those that are stepping up to be “leaders” that we are no longer willing to follow you. We are no longer willing to go your direction just because we are not currently going any other direction of our own.  There is an Afghan proverb that says “If you think you’re leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk.”  Well guess what just because you are following someone who is out for a walk doesn’t make them a leader.

Leadership is about purpose, direction, compassion, vision, connection and most importantly character.  If you are following someone who doesn’t show these characteristics in EVERY aspect of their life then you need to stop following them immediately.  Stop supporting their political campaign.  Stop letting them influence your decision-making.

To end with another quote from the same movie.  In the end of the movie the character of the President finally has had enough of the personal attacks by someone who is campaigning against him.  In the course of the movie the opponent questions the President’s character. And it is address with this statement:

President Andrew Shepherd: For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being President of this country was, to a certain extent, about character, and although I have not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I’ve been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character.

So ask yourself are you following someone with character?  If not how does the sand taste?

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