Read any editorial page or media on any major topic—the pandemic, the environment, race, police, the election, . . . anything—and people are calling for leadership. In the United States, they often refer to missing leadership from the government, especially the executive branch from local to federal, but I see leadership vacuums in business, education, sports, arts, culture, military, religion, media, . . . everywhere.
As a leadership writer, professor, speaker, podcast, coach, entrepreneur, and practitioner, I know and work with a few leadership peers, including globally renowned authors, speakers, etc.
Here’s an article on top leadership and management experts, Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts: Who makes the list? More important, whom should you be listening to?, not to single out Inc., since any similar list will give this result. They don’t mention sustainability or the environment. They aren’t serving humanity. They aren’t trying to.
Where are they regarding these global issues? What are they doing? I don’t see them stepping up to lead. Of all of the current issues, the environment seems the one that will last the longest and affect the most people. Experts call it existential, meaning it could make us extinct.
People consistently say, “We know what to do. We can do it. The question is will we. It’s a question of political will.” They are calling for leadership. Well, the leadership section of the bookstore is overflowing with leadership books, as are sections of magazines and courses offered at universities.
We’re overflowing with people who claim themselves leadership experts. In a world craving leadership, if they aren’t acting on sustainability, I call to question if they are leaders. They seem more glorified HR trainers.
Here’s another page on leadership gurus, World’s Top 30 Leadership Professionals for 2020. I’ve met many of them. I don’t know of any heeding the universal call to lead in the area we as a species need leadership most. They’re helping corporate people get promoted.
I have no problem with someone making a living writing books and training people to get promoted and enjoy their jobs more. Most people are fuddling through life, figuring out how to put their kids through college, not worrying about how to make the world sustainable. Their business is their business. But people in few professions claim to have mastered the skills humans need to prevent our species from going extinct.
My peers do claim those skills and the ability to teach them to others. Yet name one acting on them.
How can you call yourself a leader or leadership professional while watching billions of people follow each other, leaderless, toward increasingly risking extinction? If you don’t know science, what does it take to recognize where the need is? Are your corporate fees that much more important than applying what you claim to know to what many people consider the most important problem humanity has faced and everyone is asking for? Step up, people.
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