A few years ago, I was white water rafting with some friends on the Nantahala River in North Georgia. This river is pretty fast and has rapids which can gain your respect very quickly.

From the beginning of our adventure, one guy in the front of the boat got us off to a bad start. Every time we transitioned from calm water to rapids, this dude would loudly point out the hazards to us, while the rest of us paddled furiously trying to work through the rapids that hurled toward us.

Predictably, because of this guy, our raft crew was out of wack. We spun aimlessly through the rapids, beached on large rocks, and came dangerously close to capsizing several times.

I was in the back of the of the raft growing more and more frustrated with each directive that came out of our fearless leaders’ mouth as his oar rested on his lap and his gums flapped furiously.

I was now fed up.

“Paddle Dammit,” I yelled up to him as we approached a massive set of rapids.  Finally, he started to give way with the rest of us.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen this problem expand far beyond white water rafting.

In fact, leadership today is a lot like that guy in the front of the boat.

Everywhere you look, there are so-called leaders who are always quick to point out the challenges and obstacles in our path, but much less likely to do anything about it.

How about you? When it comes to the problems our society faces, are you pointing out the problems while everyone else paddles?

Let’s face it – all of us do this from time to time. Especially today, when you see all of the numerous problems we face. But, we can’t let this be the norm for us. Real leaders know that this isn’t the way meaningful things get done.

Here is the deal…If we’re going to repair the massive loss of trust and emerging conflict we face in our communities, it’s going to take every able-bodied leader we have to stick that oar in the water, and “paddle dammit!”

Until next time, thanks for what you do and keep leaving tracks,
Scott Mann

Author, Game Changers

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