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Is a Passive Leader an Oxymoron?

Is a Passive Leader an Oxymoron?

For those who want to lead, passivity is deadly.

If you consider yourself a leader, here are 2 phrases (and attitudes) you’ll want to drive out immediately: As soon as and If only.

As soon as (the economy is better/the government gets their act together/I get that promotion/etc.) I will…”

If only (the customer’s advertising budget were higher/the opposition would help me pass this law/my party would get elected/etc.) we could…”

Where passive business owners say “If only Washington would end gridlock, we’d have a clear picture of the future and could invest in xxx with confidence,” a proactive leader recognizes that the government will always fight, the future will never be clear, and expanding is always a risk. So she takes action, even in uncertain times.

Where a passive church leader might lament, “As soon as our membership is large enough, we can start expanding our missions efforts and serve more people,” the alternate, proactive attitude says “Start now, start small, and get moving!”

US presidents say “If only Congress had cooperated, I could have passed that into law” or “As soon as I’m re-elected, we can get this fixed.” Yet many proactive presidents have worked with a divided government, and very few political leaders ever changed much due to reelection.

Beware of your own internal rationalization blaming outside forces. The next time you hear yourself say (or think) As soon as or If only, stop, and try thinking proactively instead. Ask yourself how you might start now, start small, and get moving. Where will you go when the roadblocks are ignored?

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