The Leadership Vacuum
From my earliest days as a student in elementary school, I remember valuing strong leaders.
People who lead with integrity and passion, who communicate well and share their vision always capture my attention. I have been fortunate to have been directly influenced by such people. As I have mentioned before, a few of these have been strong female role leaders, from my mom to coworkers I currently know. However, I have been blessed to know a few really great male leaders as well, and regardless of gender, leadership in organizations fills a gap that nothing else can.
My husband is a great leader. He has been in management for over ten years, and he’s a bit of a dark horse from the perspective of his peers. He is a determined and productive person. He makes it his business to know every aspect of the business he is in, to not only be proficient but a subject matter expert. He speaks his mind, he doesn’t kiss anyone’s ass, and he will do the right thing, guaranteed.
More than that, the people he leads have trust in him. They look to his example and live up to his expectations. Even when he has had to be the bearer of bad news or give someone very difficult feedback, they never lose their respect for him. He treats people with dignity and respect, and at the same time has a personable approach and just says things as they are. He shares with them the vision he has, and they rise up to meet the challenge. That is leadership – and I am proud of him!
I have also worked where a leadership vacuum has emerged. Nothing sucks the life out of you at work the way it does when there is a gaping void where a good leader should be. There is no sense of direction, no meaningful purpose and morale plummets. It’s very unfortunate.
Working in large organizations, such as where I work, strong leaders are needed at every level and with diverse styles to ensure that the needs of the organization and the employees are being met. It is frustrating to witness some leaders stepping up while other who should be acting as leaders retreat, backing away from the responsibility they have taken.
And it’s obvious to see who suffers when there is a leadership vacuum. It is in the unengaged faces of the people you pass in the hallway. It is the blank spaces on the volunteer lists for employee engagement events. It is the lack of interest in any company-wide initiative, whether it is work related or for fun. It is in the general disinterest expressed by employees when asked to learn something new. It is obvious in the faces of every employee, that despite the lack luster leadership, they are still expected to rise to the occasion and perform.
It makes me appreciative of the times where I have had great leaders, and that at least in my own circle I am so fortunate to have the influence of other strong leaders. It also makes me want to do what I can for my team, to pull them up and help them want to do more and be more – to be enthusiastic!