When the leader doesn’t lead

Last week Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement. It’s a decision which was met with much horror, and condemned around the world. It’s likely to do lasting damage to our planet. I think it’s also likely to do economic damage to the US, as the market for renewable energy products expands outside the US, and so the customers for US companies in the field will become more distant and more difficult to access.

In these circumstances it’s easy to dispair. But some people stepped up to the mark.  211 mayors across the US pledged to continue to respect the Agreement. Their statement is short, and it says in part “We will continue to lead.” They are continuing without the support from the president, and as such they are demonstrating clear leadership qualities that politicians don’t often get the chance to do, as they are often lost in a mix of partisan argument and more managerial work. Many leading US companies are also taking similar action.

This kind of active approach applies to our own, less international, lives, too. Sometimes we sit in our organisation, look up, and see the people we expected to lead us not doing so, or not doing so sufficiently. Perhaps they have failed to articulate a vision, or take a stand on a particular issue, or set a clear direction. In these circumstances it’s an opportunity for someone embedded within the hierarchy to make up some of the difference. Perhaps they won’t make up all of the difference, but there is still opportunity to provide strength, direction, inspiration and certainty for others. Leadership is respected at any level.

Photo from Global Landscapes Forum