I want to differentiate between telling people facts and what to do or what they should do on one side, and leading them on the other.
I see a lot of people telling others what to do. Not a lot of people leading. Martin Luther King led people to choose and want to go to jail to create freedom. That’s leadership. He had no authority over them. He didn’t convince them to do it. He didn’t change their values. He gave them a way to achieve their goals of equality and justice.
Well, we moved on that path since we haven’t achieved it, but he led them.
While he also went to jail, I’m talking about more than leading by example. Even without going to jail, King led people. Eisenhower led D-Day though he didn’t fight in it. In neither case did they just tell people what to do or just model what to do.
I’m talking about connecting with people’s values — what they care about — and motivating people by their motivations, leading them to a better life, not just compliance.
Almost nobody is leading like that today. As a result, nobody is being led and we, at least in the United States and most of the world polluting the most, are keeping doing what created the problem, choosing not to act productively.
Of course, many people are acting productively, but it seems to me they would have anyway. They weren’t led. The overwhelming majority of people won’t budge from comfort and convenience without leadership.