Our world has always faced challenges - famine, disease, disaster and tyranny, just to name a few. What’s the leadership response to these issues and others? Do we turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to hurting people around us… or not?
In my book, The Heart of Leadership, I call out courage as an indispensable part of leadership. Courage is the catalyst for all leadership. The world is full of bystanders with great ideas. Noble intentions serve no one. Many are stirred but few are moved. Until we do something, we are not leading. It is the leader who moves!
What’s this got to do with you and me? A lot. Most of us didn’t ask to be leaders, but we have been given the opportunity. With our leadership opportunity comes a stewardship responsibility. And I’m not just talking about financial stewardship. I believe leaders have both the opportunity and the obligation to serve others. The prerequisite for serving others is courage.
Today is World AIDS Day. For me, this day on the calendar challenges me to think more about the principle than the problem. If leaders don’t step up to alleviate pain and suffering around the world, it doesn’t happen. Leaders must be the advocates for those with no voice and little hope.
Forget HIV/AIDS for a moment - what’s your cause? What is it in the world that stirs you? Homelessness? Human trafficking? Poverty? Hunger? What are you going to do about it? Here’s the principle: When a leader engages, the world wins.
My son, Justin, is a great example of this principle. When he was a sophomore in college, Bono challenged him to do something about HIV/AIDS. It was as if he was hearing about the issue for the first time. Of course, he had heard about AIDS before, but until he was challenged to DO SOMETHING, he had never considered what a 19-year old kid could do. It was a leadership moment - he could seize it or miss it. He decided to do something.
The organization he and his friends founded, CARE for AIDS, now employs over 50 people, has 24 clinics operating in Kenya and has graduated thousands of clients over the last seven years; all because a leader mustered the courage to do something.
Let me ask you again, what’s your cause? What can you do? Courage will be required – perhaps a little, maybe a lot. That’s the way leadership works.
Today is World AIDS Day. If you don’t have a cause and you need one, Justin would be glad to talk to you.[GLS_Shield]