Discontentment is evident, and it is more than just an election cycle. In the United States, our election is highlighting the discontentment. With the recent Brexit vote, discontentment is present within the United Kingdom, too. Add in Venezuela, the Middle East, and several other places, and discontentment seems to be present in more places than where it is absent.

Discontentment also is evident in our workplaces and economy. An unhappy thread seems to weave through our lives today and, at times, we seem close to unraveling. We should not think the current discontentment is just uncertainty. Although discontentment contains a certain amount of uncertainty, much more seems to stir within parts of our society and organizational culture.

Discontentment is the great leadership challenge.

Some may read the above statement and place the emphasis on the great challenge. However, I place the emphasis on great leadership, and our challenge is to rise up to this standard.

Discontentment in Politics

In politics, we have lost our center. Our center is the foundation of what our nation represents – decency, freedom (including the press and religion), civility, problem-solving, and progress. Replace center with core and we have the soul of our nation. From our nation’s soul, we also have our center as a place where sides come together to work toward a solution. Today, this center is surrounded by walls of staunch segmentation, my way or fight mentality.

The great leadership challenge is to return to our center and refresh our soul, focusing on our greater purpose again. Our standard of great leadership is finding a way to resolve challenges by finding a common ground in which we can build better opportunity and rights for more people than before.

Discontentment in Organization Culture

In business, cities, and other organizations, we focus on short-term results at the expense of doing what is right for the longer term. Focus seems to reside on a few at the top rather than bottom-up and outward to customers and partners. Too much focus is on shareholders at the expense of stakeholders. Again, we seem to have segmented our organizational culture and community to a select few and walled off the others from active engagement.

The great leadership challenge is to find our corporate and organizational soul again. Great leaders take a complete view of capitalism, stretching to the ideals of Conscious Capitalism and the enduring positive impact business and organizations can have on a greater good.

Discontentment in Loyalty and Trust

Underneath the political and organizational culture discontentment is the lack of trust, and distrust comes from a lack of loyalty. Business has changed, and we understand the technology and global shifts. However, we criticize individuals for not staying with an organization for more than two years, yet the organization has no issue with eliminating positions quickly and without regard for contribution or longevity. We see the two-faced nature of who pays the price of bad decisions, seeing the top getting the golden packages and the rest getting the pink slips. Distrust creates unrest and a question of loyalty to whom.

The great leadership challenge is to find the right balance of doing what is right to build a sustainable business and treating people with honor, respect, and as partners in building a business for the long haul. Returning to trust is the great leadership challenge, and it begins by being a mindful, compassionate, and purpose-centered leader.

Discontentment in Outcomes

Outcomes matter. In discussing the great leadership challenge in loyalty and trust, some may see what is missing. Where is profitability? Where is revenue? Where is return on investment?

Results matter. Without revenue, profits, and good returns, all fails. However, the positive outcomes seem shaded and given to a few. At an even broader level, outcomes are missing. Infrastructure is crumbling, budgets are unbalanced, and deficits remain large. If unresolved problems are an outcome, then we are successful.

The great leadership challenge is to solve real problems with real solutions for the current and next generation of citizens and team members. Great leaders restore and keep trust, and great leaders find the right mix between profits, purpose, planet, and people.

Discontentment: The Opportunity for Great Leaders

Rather than focus on our differences, we need to return to finding our common ground. We need to use our diversity to lead forward with the most creative, innovative, and sustainable solutions possible.

Today, we focus too much on our generational, economic, racial, religious, and other differences. We segment too much. Worse, we use this segmentation to build barriers, and the result is stalemate and a backward slide. We have set the stage for discontentment, and we are receiving the results of what too many have built.

Today, we need to guide and challenge the best out of our leaders. We need to be the leader who will do great things by finding our common ground and building a better way forward with the diverse talents within our businesses, communities, states, and nation.

Great leaders bring together people to collaborate for better outcomes.

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Great leaders do great things. Most importantly, great leaders bring out the best in others. Great leaders bring together people to collaborate for better outcomes.

Are you ready to rise to the great leader challenge? If so, what will you do today to begin to unravel the discontentment?

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