A New Generation of Empowered Leaders
by Ellen Cooperperson
There are times that cry out for new leadership.
Now is one of those times.
Here are some examples of what is masquerading as leadership today:
There is not one concrete plan that has been offered to deal with the 100 million plus Islamic Fascists who are committing genocide across the globe much less a plan to end the bloody war in the Middle East. Corporate gangsters are being led away in handcuffs for robbing thousands of people of their life savings. Government “leaders” can’t even clean up after a hurricane, let alone create a workable plan to deal with the Health Care Crisis. I don’t recognize our country anymore. Our phones are tapped, we’re led to war on lies, and parents are threatened with jail time for refusing to inject their children with vaccines that may be some of the primary causes of the Autism Epidemic. The press is no longer able to ask hard questions and radio commentators exercising their right to free speech about all this are cut off the air and accused of treason.
It's time to get painfully honest. Students of HIStory will say that the world has had this sort of bloodshed, clueless “leadership”, and oppression of human beings to greater or lesser degrees since the beginning of recorded time. I agree. And once we clear away all the smoke screens we begin to see with blinding clarity that there is only one system that has been the constant thread through it all. It is the root cause and must be eradicated to forge a new future for our organizations, this country and the world. The cause is the rule and domination of one group over another.
My intention here is not to create more factions or resurrect old ones. A social inversion where women dominate men is not the answer. We are a people and we will rise and fall together. But as Abigail Adams warned the founding fathers of our nation, ultimately the structure will crumble if you don’t “remember the ladies”. Our culture will only advance when a critical mass of empowered women are in top level leadership positions. I’m delighted to say we’re making progress. The election of a female president is no longer a question of if, but rather when.
Women leaders offer a different perspective of the world. An unforgettable story to illustrate this is about Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel in the 1970’s. Golda’s cabinet of officers recommended that a curfew be imposed on women in their community because of a growing incidence of rape. Golda’s response was that if the women are being raped, it is the men who need the curfew. That’s a woman’s point of view. Without it we will not solve the problems that are eroding families, destroying the lives of children, or damaging the health of hard working individuals.
We must demand real leaders now who can inspire us to action and make us want to do a better job. We need a radical shift in how we view leadership – not just one great hero to save the day, but an army of committed leaders in every area of life who are trained and prepared to assume the responsibility and willing to be accountable.
The issue is not so much what you need to know to lead. There are hundreds of books and training programs on the market today that can tell you what you need to know and do to be an effective leader. However, being an extraordinary leader is more about who you are and how well you produce results. Leadership, then, is an inside out job. Here are the top five qualities of an Extraordinary Leader:
INTEGRITY: Without it nothing works. Integrity means being your word.
- If you make a commitment, keep it. If you can't fulfill on a promise or if you mess up, take responsibility for your actions and clean up your mess. Integrity means doing what you said you would do, regardless of how you feel about it at the moment. Be authentic. Say what you mean. (Just don’t say it mean). Know the difference between right and wrong and have the guts and conviction to speak out in the face of adversity. And don’t expect to be rewarded for what you know instead of what you do with what you know.
SERVICE: Be committed to making a difference and focus on what you can contribute. John Kennedy said it best, “ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country”. Rational self interest is a virtue and a necessity. To stay alive we must breathe in as well as out. But self interest gets destructive when it turns into greed, self centered egotism and arrogance.
VISION: The ability to define and see new and better possibilities is a capacity in great demand today.
- It requires creativity and imagination. Great visionary leaders inspire people, revitalize organizations and mobilize commitment.
DECISIVENESS: Is about self mastery, focus, control, critical thinking and unwavering courage. Know that your mind is competent to think. Reason things out, ask for help if you need it, but understand that no one else can do your thinking for you.
HIGH SELF ESTEEM: Believe in yourself. Never give up. Change course if you have to but keep reaching beyond what’s comfortable. Everything you want is right outside your comfort zone. Surround yourself with winners who cheer you on and want you to win.
There was a time when we could have lived with incremental change. Not now. This is an age of moral crisis. There are forces of evil that would like to take us to ages darker than any our history has known. Gangs of mystics and brutes are fighting one another for the power to rule and destroy our lives. Intelligence and common sense in industry seem to be on strike. To the next generation of leaders: the world you desire is possible. It will take your total dedication and a complete break from the comfort of the past. In conclusion, as Rabbi Hillel said, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, When?"
Ellen Cooperperson is President of Corporate Performance Consultants, Inc. and Executive Director of the Women’s Leadership Development Center in Long Island, NY, which is dedicated to inspire the next generation of empowered leaders through seminars, coaching, films and special events. www.corporateperformanceconsultants.com