Sunday, December 7, 2014

When Good Men do Nothing

Who is it that ties your hands when influences and actions take place seemingly outside of your control, and in direct opposition to the principles and strategy of the organisation.

I am sure you have all observed or even participated in organisations where the behaviour of the leadership and observations by some were that their hands were tied. 
Is that really true though? Ever?

A quote by Edmund Burke "The only thing necessary for evil to prosper is when good men do nothing" came to mind when looking at some executive reactions to events that impact their organisational or personal position.

Whilst we might try and shift our responsibility to impacts outside our control there is still the question of how you respond to these events, and how you portray your true values and beliefs. If you do not demonstrate and reinforce your values and openly communicate your position to your people then how do you expect them to either respect or uphold any support for what is trying to be achieved.

If your hands are tied then the message is that you are not the leader but the slave Someone else, not you, then is leading your people. For you to remain silent is to condone or support the direction of others.

So what is your voice in the case of events outside your control? Spit the dummy? Become resistant or even militant? No. There is a voice that can be heard, substantiated by reason, evidence and belief. Its a voice that can have an open conversation and lay the path for a way forward that recognises the drivers and where honest discussion can be made. 
A conversation based on principles that drive a clear strategy for the way forward and declares a foundation for everyone to know where things stand, particularly your own people.

Even if you suggest a prudent silent response is best, do your people and any other onlooker for that matter really know your true position? Is your silence understood? In a world that likes things to be nice and a sense of keeping the peace is preferred it is very easy to think that doing anything but staying quiet is simply causing trouble. This however provides the greatest opportunity for those that have more sinister agendas to unravel both you and your organisation. 

Every time you remain silent you lose a bit of your integrity, and it sets a precedent upon which arguments for the next occasion, and the next, are built. Not just by you, but also by others. You have now given permission for others to lead and to further undermine you and your organisation. What you were trying to avoid has now become the Inevitable.

The reason why we succumb is often a lie, a lie that we built ourselves. Those that want to seek their own agenda also know this, and only need to test the ground to prove it and induce a reaction (or not) as the case may be. Your fear is usually "self generated" even if you don’t want to admit it. If you remain silent then their point is proven.

Putting your position on the line or presenting politically unpopular messaging is what real leaders do.

You might say that you always stand on and uphold your principles, however assure me this. When it’s your job on the line or when the popular belief is against you, when you feel your hands are tied, will you speak?

Decide what your response will be.
Have you already given the ownership away?

Does everyone know your true position, or are you silent?

Are you just a good person doing nothing?

Its not too late.

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