Why You Should Lead

The Egyptian revolution shows why you should step up to lead in your community.
It wasn’t long ago that the world watched in amazement as the central square of Cairo, Egypt filled with throngs of protesters demanding drastic change in their government. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Egyptian uprising (as well as those all across the Arab world) is that they seem to be spontaneous mass mobilizations. There was no individual leader spearheading the movement, and thus there was no one to arrest in order to quell the revolution.
The leaderless protests were successful at driving Egypt’s dictator, Hosni Mubarak, from power – unthinkable just a short time ago. But since then, there has been no progress in forming a new government, let alone a new national future. Egyptians are nervously waiting through a period of political limbo.
What will happen in Egypt? Will we will see secular democracy emerge, or will it be a Sharia-law religious state? Will the new Egypt be friendly toward the West and the United States or not?
I do not pretend to have any answers to those questions, but I am convinced that what whatever direction Egypt takes will be a result of a leader taking her there. We will not see a spontaneous crowd in the square forging the new national vision.
A leaderless crowd can protest, but it cannot build. It can reject the present, but it cannot map out the future. In short, a crowd can complain but it cannot govern. Leaders are required to cast a vision for the future which will resonate with the crowds.
It’s not just Egypt which needs leaders, we do, too. You might expect me to refer to our federal or state government here, but I won’t. I’m thinking closer to home. Your community needs leaders. Your child’s Little League, your school board, church, family reunion, or local zoning board (the list is endless) all need people who will step forward and lead constructively. You can be that someone.
Stepping up to leadership means shifting from criticizing to generating ideas. Anyone can complain, it takes leaders to chart a path toward progress.
Are your daily conversations filled with vented frustrations over what “they” are doing, or with ideas about how things could be better? Those who focus on solutions instead of articulating problems are not only happier, but they make a greater difference than those who settle for complaining.
Yes, you will be criticized when you step out to lead. You can count on it. That is the price of leadership. Unselfish leaders are willing to pay that price in order to move toward a brighter mutual future. One composer whose work was ravaged by the critics was reminded, “Keep composing. No one ever built a statue of a critic.”
Take the risk, step out and lead. Your community will be stronger for it. Don’t settle for complaining, share some ideas and act on them. Our future depends on it.