Does it seem like millennials get blamed for everything nowadays? Whether it’s the perceived rise of selfishness in society (as if that vice just started in the last 30 years) or the inhibiting effects of avocado toast, the term ‘millennial’ has become a form of shorthand for describing anything that we view as different from how we grew up and therefore, inferior. Honestly, at this point, it would not be a stretch to see the fall of the Roman Empire somehow attributed to millennials and their preponderance of video games which, led to a lack of them playing outside as kids.
Our world is based on accountability. In most areas of our lives, we rely on a two-way exchange where either party agrees to deliver something, a good or service, to the other. We’re accountable in our home life to our partners or children. We’re accountable in our jobs to our team or supervisor. Accountability is not controlling or dictatorial. It’s a way that we show respect and do our part in building the environment and world in which we wish to live.
Most of us have heard the saying widely attributed to Albert Einstein, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” And while most of us wouldn’t consider ourselves unhinged in any significant way, we have to admit that we are creatures of habit. And to some degree, it makes sense, right? Doing what we’ve done has gotten us this far. Why stop now?
Leaders are trying to rally people to a place where even they don’t know they’re going sometimes. It’s easy to feel alone and isolated in those moments. Who do you talk to in those times of uncertainty? Who can truly understand what it is you’re going through and the particular set of circumstances that you’re facing? Who can lead the leaders?
Believe it or not, leadership can be ambiguous. The action of leading a group of people or an organization can be done well or poorly. Effective leadership requires good leaders. And if we’re asking ourselves to distinguish between good and bad leaders than we should begin to think hard about the characteristics that make up those in either case.
There are certain sights in life that you never forget once you see them — Grand Canyon, Fenway Park, Eiffel Tower, to name a few. Here’s another one: bad leadership. Nothing stains a work experience like having an incompetent or untrustworthy boss. Even now, you can probably conjure an image of the leader you were under or you hired that exhibits those negative characteristics of poor leadership - failure to accept accountability, unable to take feedback or recognizing strengths in others, etc. Regardless of your situation, the question remains: What do you do with a bad leader?
In high school, I worked at the athletic store at the local mall. Among the various merchandise carried - apparel, accessories, fan gear - the bulk of our selection was undoubtedly athletic footwear. I’ll never forget the time we were redesigning the store layout on an off day and my manager asked for me to grab the pair of “special” Reeboks from the back for the front display. Short on details, I thought to ask for further instructions but wanted to show that I didn’t need to be micromanaged. Furthermore, it had been a long work day already so I got the sense that everyone on the team was looking forward to finishing. So I headed back to the stockroom in search of the requested shoes. But on my way, I kept thinking, How am i supposed to know which Reeboks he means? What makes these shoes special? What if I grab the wrong pair and he fires me on the spot for incompetence!? These were all very legitimate questions in my adolescent brain being that I had the extensive work history up to the point of 2 whole weeks.
Well, 2020 is, among so many things already, an election year. Who are you voting for? Are you Republican? Democrat? Independent? Are you a single-issue voter? What do you look for in a candidate? Around this time, we find ourselves bombarded with robocalls, spam emails, targeted ads and direct mailers, all trying to vie for our attention and votes. That’s just the nature of life during an election cycle. But, do you know what exists no matter the year? What is ever-present regardless of whose term is soon to be up? Workplace politics.