Beware of the Organizational Cowards

"Only cowards hide behind silence."  Paulo Coelho

In any organizational structure, there must be leaders and there must be followers. If you're lucky, those who are most capable and competent are leading the way.

The recent events at OU with SAE fraternity were disturbing to say the least. The poor actions of a few have tainted the public perception of the group and University at large. Several of the young men caught chanting that horrible chant claim they were bullied into it.

Organizations (companies, fraternities, sororities, unions, social groups)  must be careful when appointing leaders and managers because their actions, or lack of, can not only jeopardize public perception; it can make the entire entity liable for wrongdoing.

We've all been there. The manager who harasses, demeans or bullies the new person in an attempt to exert power that they have never had before. The President of a group who rules with an iron fist and presides over meetings by tuning out the suggestions or thoughts of others seated around the table.

Real leaders aren't afraid to surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are. They embrace the background, knowledge, experience, diversity and skill sets that every new person brings to the table.

Look around your organization and look closely at those in top leadership. Do they resemble you? Do they share common interests? Do they make you feel like a valued team member? If the answer is "no", be grateful for the transparency and plan your exit strategy towards a better fit for your personal growth.

Weak leaders funnel down to those they manage. People who once held justice, truth and morality close to their heart turn a deaf ear and blind eye to wrongdoing. When faced with the opportunity to do what's right, they avoid conflict and let fear govern.

I've always chosen to be highly selective of who and what I dedicate my time to. I'm also fortunate that I can walk away from any situation that is not aligned with my moral code. It doesn't behoove me to be part of an organization where I am constantly fighting to prove that I belong there. If the structure has already been built to ensure that only a chosen few will have power, bow out gracefully.

Remember that you are operating WITHIN their framework and while that person may be your leader, manager, President, etc., in the real world they are not better than you. They know it too because they would not spend so much energy trying to bring you down if you weren't already elevated.

You shouldn't have to sacrifice who you are to be who they want you to be. A lion doesn't lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.


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