Thursday, March 8, 2012

Which Leader Holds the Key to Fixing America? (Hint--not who you might think)

Presidential Primaries are all over the news. I think leadership matters (I did get a Masters Degree in Leadership). But I think we're leaving someone out the conversation.  You and me.

We seem to think that if we pick the right uber-man, a Great Leader, then he or she will do it all and solve our problems. Our national strategy: 1) Pick the right leader. 2) Go back to our regular life and leave it all to them to fix the country.

Is that strategy really going to work?

For example, we want our President to grow the economy. But what am I doing to grow the economy? Instead, over the next four years, 300 million of us regular people could be a little more creative (i.e. think up one new product or service to our company) and a little more disciplined (save a little more and spent more carefully). Wouldn't 300 million of us making just one small improvement make a huge difference?

Yes, I’m know improving the economy is more complicated than just working harder. And, again, I'm NOT saying that leaders don't matter. For example, the President can sign into law something stupid that ruins a whole sector of the economy. I'm not saying we ignore the leader's role. Let's keep debating who should be our President.

But we shouldn't ignore our role, either. Let's not forget that we can be leaders, too.

If we want a better America, then everyday Americans, like you and me, have to step up and do at least one thing differently--one thing better than we did in the last four years. We are America. If we want a better America, we're saying we want a better us. And even the best leader can't make us different. Only we can choose to improve.

This "leader who will do it all for us" bias isn't restricted to politics, either.

For example, we do this in our churches, too. We pick leaders (pastors, priests, rectors, etc) and then we leave all the ministry to them. But no matter how great our pastors are, they'll never come close to matching the impact of a whole church fully engaged. God has called all of us to be ministers--leaders representing Him to the world.

Making a better America, or a better church, isn't just the leader's job. It's our job, too. Choosing one great leader helps. But 300 million leaders can radically change their nation. Let's not lose the involvement and energy we're spending on which leader is better. Let's carry that energy beyond elections and, maybe, in our own spheres of influence, become the more like the kind of leader we want.

What can you do differently in the next year? How can you be the leader who changes your part of America? Because you and I are the leaders who really hold the key to fixing America.

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