I watched an animated movie yesterday. In one of the scenes, two friends were trying to ride a two-headed dragon. The challenge was that both of them—one on each of the necks of the dragon—wanted to take the lead, and worse still they didn’t agree on the direction and agenda.
For almost one minute, I watched as the dragon held on for dear life as their indecision nearly tore him in half. In protest, he threw both riders off his necks (it had two necks), and motioned them to stay away until they decided who the leader was going to be, or at least what the agenda was. After another bout of unnecessary arguments and childish rantings, a leader emerged and the journey commenced.
Every organization or group of people with a common goal needs a leader. A leader decides the direction of the organization. A leader determines the speed at which the organization goes. A leader decides who gets on the bus, who stays on and who gets off. There has to be someone ultimately responsible for what happens with the organization.
When there is a lack of leadership—defined leadership—like with the dragon in the movie, the organization is either torn in pieces or left immobilized. No real progress takes place in the absence of defined leadership. If no-one steps up to the plate and assumes ultimate responsibility, people do their own thing, pursue their personal goals and run at their self-determined pace. All of these are detrimental to the health and wealth of the organization.
I heard that people need to know who to follow. I believe this to be true. People want to fall behind an inspiring leader, skilled and committed to the course. People want to support a visionary who is going somewhere more significant than any single individual.
So here is my challenge: If you have been handed the privilege to lead, step up to the plate and lead. There is no room for ambiguity or indecision. If you are in a space in need of a leader, step up and lead. There is no room for hiding in the shadows and allowing any and everything to go and grow. There is no room for passivity. Will the real leader stand up? Will the designated leader stand up? Will you step up and be the leader you were created to be?