Activist leaders are required. Through activism, we gain positive change, innovative ideas, results-oriented collaboration, and meaningful progress. We are entering a new era of leadership. We can no longer settle for the low bar of employee engagement. Activism is the new standard set and desired.

Unfortunately, passive leaders are still present. The choice is simple. Become un-passive or be passed by.

What are the signs of being a passive leader?

You may be a passive leader if –

You build walls. Walls only separate. What wall ever built lasted the test of time? Not many. If they did, they became a historical object. Passive leaders like to divide rather than rally others around a bigger purpose, a higher goal. Putting a wall up is passive, leaving problems unsolved.

You make simple statements. Simple statements without substance do not move initiatives forward. Simple statements can be confrontational, especially if facts are avoided or solutions ignored. Simple statements with an accusatory tone miss the mark of progress.passive leader

Simple statements can raise clarity but only when backed with some heft of reason and direction.

You make bold claims. Bold claims without real data is meant to scare or feed an ego. Bold statements can be made to shut down further discussion. How could a stated bold claim without real data be overcome? People back away. People fear an argument based on unsubstantiated facts and big fear.

Bold statements can activate bold actions but only when backed with a sense of reality and collaboration.

You have thin skin. Thin skin means others cannot engage with you in challenging conversations. An accusation is made; tensions rise. People would rather avoid than engage. Inaccurate titles or claims are attached to the individuals asking the questions. Thin-skinned leaders make others shrink away rather than stand up.

You have a thick skull. Bullheaded is another way to say this. No matter what information is presented, your way is the only way. Absorbing new information or considering another viewpoint is impossible. Rather than team members beating their head against the proverbial wall, they just figure out ways to keep quiet or take other paths.

You have an entourage. If you always have to have certain people surrounding you, then you are building a wall around yourself. Little change will happen when surrounded by yes. An entourage may look cool, but cool does not produce activated teams driving change. Talking to the same people every day produces groundhog days – same story, different day.

Most of your shirts or hats have your initials on them. If clothing has your stamp on it, then too many things within your organization may too. Individualism may help you rise up, but only collaboration can build sustainable results. Everyone has an ego, but can you let go of your ego for others or a higher purpose? “I” scatters the “we.” We flee the monograms and flock toward a more inclusive design.

Shake Your Leadership Awake!

There are too many problems to be solved and changes happening to be self-centered and passive. Inert leaders produce inert teams. Life is too short to be inert!

There are two key points:

  • If you see yourself in more than three of the seven of the above statements, then change! Activate your leadership.
  • If your organization contains leaders with the above traits, then move it! Finding an organization with active leaders will produce a greater sense of accomplishment and meaning. Activate your world.

Activism is the new standard for leaders and teams. Engagement never really happened. We set our sights too low. We need to raise the standard of leadership. We need to demand more from our team leads and C-suite.

Are you a passive leader?

Are you passively letting a passive leader suck your time and effort?

Make the change.

Lead actively.