Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) has been touring the country lately and talking about his book “The Vanishing American Adult.” I haven’t read it yet ( I plan to this year) but I have heard him talk about this book and it has some very interesting concepts. Basically the theme of the book is he believes Americans have lost their core of personal integrity and discipline. The country has many serious and quite complex challenges ahead and to even begin solving them he states—people must recover their sense of virtue. The survival of the nation depends on this. I know it’s weird to start your first blog post on a book you haven’t read but the concept is too important to not write about. The idea for this post comes from that concept.
In his many interviews Sasse believes that our children will not be prepared for the world they will inherit. I don’t know if that says more about the generations of parents and grandparents that raised them but I think that is for another post. The Vanishing American Adult is something we should worry about and try to remedy. What we should be more concerned with and work harder to remedy is the Vanishing American Leader.
American Leadership everywhere is in crisis. The state of American political leadership is a tragedy. This did not start with the man in the White House or the current administration. Leaders in Washington have been serving the interests of the rich and powerful long before Trump. Political polarization may have gotten worse over the years but this has been a 30 year journey (some would argue longer). Business Leadership from the executive boardroom to middle management is inconsistent at best. Unprepared and disengaged managers make the work place culture ineffective and stressful. Output and “bottom line” focused executives see human beings as replaceable assets instead of the key to their success. Our community organizations and movements are increasingly polarizing with varying expiration dates. With the leadership in these three vital institutions failing us it will be that much more difficult for us to reach our full potential as a society.
Is all lost? I don’t believe so.
First we must admit a pair glaring truths to ourselves. We have to admit that we need leadership. That is first. Leadership is important at all levels. Stable and productive families have parental leadership. They have a parent/parents who actively and lovingly develop and discipline their kids. High performing schools have administrative leadership. They have administrators who put the best systems in place for students to excel and achieve. I could go on but you see the pattern. Successful tribes and organizations need leadership. Families, Schools, Churches, Businesses, Governments all need this.
Second, leadership can come from anywhere and from anyone. Leaders are not born …they are made. Trust and faith in a leader is not given it is earned. All the great leaders, across all of human history were not given this title. George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. and even Jesus had to prove themselves and earned the trust of followers. The title of manager does not mean that a person is a leader. The title of Vice-President does not mean that people will follow. Leaders are given this title and distinction by the people who follow them. It is those same people who can take it away. A cashier at McDonald’s may have more people who call her a leader than a Director at a Fortune 500 company.
This is where I will end this first post because this last point needs to be explored more. The first point is that human beings need strong leadership and leadership is important. We will continue to make this point. The last point is the message and purpose of this blog. It starts with you. We have to be the change we want to see in the world. We can look to Washington and see porous leadership but it should not stop us from educating ourselves and getting involved in our political process. We can look at our managers and executives and be uninspired but it should not stop us from mastering our craft, continuously learning new skills, and executing so efficiently that you cant be ignored. Finally, If your parents and family aren’t a good example then see them as a horrible warning. Educate yourself, don’t hesitate to get help (you can email me) and take yourself out of any toxic situation. The message is clear: never give up. Where there is life there is hope.
This blog will aim to help you become that change. We will post resources, interviews, tips, connections, and much more to help you become that change. We will explore and discuss leadership from all walks off life. We will try to cover it all and help in any way we can. Lets build the next generation of leaders. The right ones.
Hopefully this first post wasn’t too cheesy. Hopefully you will join us for this journey. Thank you for reading.