According to USA Today (December 5, 2019), 83% of Americans say divisiveness and gridlock in politics are a big problem. This is probably so because we know the saying is true that “united we stand but divided we will surely fall.” That goes for any group of people needing to complete a mission or to achieve a goal. We must find common interests and compromise for the greater good. So, how do we change this dynamic of divisiveness and gridlock? The answer is EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP.
Our leaders must be wise and unselfish enough to see and seek solutions that can come from multiple sources that make for better for the collective good of all. They must be able to anticipate the unintended consequences of their actions and non-actions… both send a message to those who count on and follow their leadership. Leaders must know when it is their time to be a leader among leaders and lead. They also must be willing to be the follower among leaders when supporting the leader is required. A follower or subordinate should take the position to help the leader lead effectively especially during difficult times. All of the above is leadership.
An EFFECTIVE LEADER must be willing to do the following today to minimize divisiveness and gridlock:
- Communicate their vision for everyone under their leadership in a way they can understand and know that the vision serves the greater good.
- Be ethical and sincere.
- Compromise for the greater collective good.
- Anticipate the impact of change and avoid negative consequences while maximizing the positive impacts.
- Take the risks that are for the greater collective good.
- Be firm to upholding guiding principles, precedent and values.
- Sit down with those of opposing views and listen… and have the opposing side be willing to listen to your views.
- Be faithful and devoted accomplishing the mission at hand… being ready to make the decision for the greater collective good.
In practical terms, when divisiveness and gridlock fall at a leader’s feet, he or she has to say… “Come on… let’s get together so we can get it together.” Take time to clarify roles and responsibilities and ask the basic questions: “How can I help you to help us?” The next question: “What are we willing to do individually and collectively to find a path forward understanding the sense of urgency, addressing the need at hand while anticipating the impact on the future?” Last question: “Can we count on each other to execute the solution to the best of our ability?” Yes, an effective leader asking the right questions can bring about answers that look like workable solutions.
In any situation where there is divisiveness and gridlock, effective leadership has to be part of the solution. In my memoir, EVIDENCE UNSEEN: Finding the Faith to Overcome I offer multiple stories of EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP under some difficult and challenging circumstances. Being a leader during difficult times is not always pleasant but it is necessary. No one wants to see a fall of any kind. It’s better to stand together and hold each other up than to experience otherwise.