In the tumultuous landscape that we find ourselves in today, we hear everyday a call for leadership. We hear that our leaders in government, in business, in education, and just about everywhere else have failed us. This may be true. What we don’t hear is a call to action from leaders to our teams, our students, our constituents, and our communities.

While leadership may be seen as the responsibility of a select few, that is a great misnomer. Leadership is the job of all who seek better outcomes. It is our responsibility to lead up and lead down. While by nature we may not all be “leaders,” that does not give us “Carte Blanche” to step out of the way and let others do our work.

So today, I reach out to the masses. Not just to executives and managers, but to every teacher, every worker, and every student. To all who seek more, want better, and aspire for greatness. A challenge we shall call it for all to contribute to leadership and making our lives better even if only a little bit.

I challenge you…

…to ask yourself am I doing the best I can? If you are not, it is time to start!

…to ask the same of those you work most closely with. Nothing you do is done in a vacuum. In almost any organization we depend on others, and if you aren’t getting what you need from a teammate then you are responsible to ask it of them.

… to have a plan for yourself. 21st Century students and workers should not require a written plan from their leadership. They should know what is expected of them and come to work every day with a goal. What is your plan?

… to be creative. Solving problems is everyone’s job. No one person can solve all of an organization’s problems. Bring more to the table than just awareness to the problem, bring solution; bring creativity and imagination!

… to take ownership of your mistakes and not try and assign blame to others. Blaming others fixes absolutely nothing. Let’s learn from our mistakes and take action not to repeat them. We share accountability for all mistakes whether you realize it or not.

… to take pride in everything that you do. Do you dot your I’s and cross your t’s? Do you take an extra moment to make sure your work is correct? What does it cost you, your co-workers, the company when you don’t?

… to run your day by meeting your objectives not by watching the time. Do you pace yourself to make sure you are busy for your “Shift?” Is your arrival and departure a pattern? Do you stop what you are doing whether your work is done or not? Who are you affecting by having this attitude? Today’s valued employee understands it isn’t about hours on the job but performance. How do you perform?

… to be the one who squashes rumors and negativity rather than perpetuates them. The walls have ears, and people like to gossip. This gossip doesn’t make anything better rather it divides and destroys. This isn’t high school (educator withstanding) anymore, be the one to put an end to this type of behavior.

… to not expect anything, but rather to earn it with your work. In the 21st century performance environment you earn your keep. You earn it by not doing only what is asked of you but by doing it well, with pride, and taking the extra steps to take on more. Doing just what is asked of you is average, a strong culture celebrates great performance not mediocrity. How do you earn it?

… to not overly concern yourself with what your competition is doing until you are executing your own plan. Until you are executing “Your Plan,” what the competition is doing is irrelevant. It is good to know, but that is it. An average plan can yield success with flawless execution while a near perfect plan can fail without it.

… to be the one to influence positive change. Just because things are the way they are now does not mean it is the way it always has to be. It starts with EVERYONE. Until every single one of us commits to make a positive difference the results will be less than we expect. It is often said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link; strive to add strength to the chain.

I challenge everyone to lead their own domain….

And to those of us who are leaders. Who have people depending on us for education, leadership, growth, and prosperity. We must create the environment for this. We cannot simply pass the buck to all to do more, but we must inspire it with our actions. Our vision and passion for continuously improving everything we touch must transcend these difficult times in order to instill hope in those that follow us. For after all, leadership is up to us all.

Do you do your part?