The Leadership Paradox

“The most effective leaders I’ve seen in any setting―business, government, nonprofit―are driven by purpose, mission, and the sense that their work is making the world a better place.” ―Brian Gallagher in Harvard Business Review

Every December, when the new year starts speeding towards you, there’s a brief moment, before you get on board, when you stop to reflect on the choices you’ve made, and what, if anything, you would like to do differently.

For many, this year in review overwhelmingly felt dominated by politics. Amidst such a tense political landscape, political catastrophe appears to be staring us in the face and yet for many of us very little has changed in our day-to-day lives. What had I done this year, I thought, to really create change?

I recently had dinner with a group of friends, all of us living somewhere along the coasts, when one person facetiously declared that he was moving to South Dakota in the new year to affect change.

I believed in the power of any individual to create change but I also knew it wasn’t self-evident. People are often only anointed leadership-status based on the scale of their platform. We were all stuck in some version of the leadership paradox. How do you create the platform you need in order to create the change you want to see, we wondered.

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