Change / transformation Leadership

True leaders help their teams face reality

Do you work for a true leader?

To answer that question, ask yourself a few others:

  • Does your boss have your future interests — and those of your organization — in mind with every decision s/he makes?
  • Does s/he bury his or her head in the sand at the first sign of change, or head for the storm cellar and pray that the storm will blow over?
  • Do your leaders make you feel stronger and more capable … or do they make you feel vulnerable and afraid?

Those aren’t rhetorical questions. They’re frighteningly serious. Your future, and the future of your organization, depends on the answer.

In his search for a definitive description of a true leader, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman quotes Harvard University’s Ronald Heifetz.

“(Heifetz) says the role of a leader is ‘to help people face reality and to mobilize them to make change’ as their environment changes to ensure the security and prosperity of their community,” Friedman writes in his best-selling book Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations.

What a perfect analogy.

Are your leaders preparing you for the new normal and helping you take advantage of change, or are they clinging to an unsustainable past that threatens to drag you and the rest of the organization under?

Think carefully about the answer.

Your future depends on you — on your ability to outlearn and outrun the pace of change.

Your organization’s future depends on its leadership’s ability to do the same.

Are they ready to do so? If not, what does that mean for you?


William D. Sheridan