Leadership is Choosing to be Responsible

Leadership is all about making a choice, while management is about following orders or a process. A leader comes along side of their team to inspire, motivate, and care for them. A manager broods over their team with a critical and analytical eye. These perspectives are not taught per se, but they are driven by two distinct cultures and how each addresses responsibility.

In a leadership culture, the individual leading a team chooses to be responsible. It is their choice. No one forces them to be responsible. They know what it takes for their team to be productive and effective—Productive work is work that matters for someone who cares. It requires some form of inspiration, the proper motivational environment, and the team of workers to care about the customer.

In a management culture, managers choose to do what is required, not necessarily taking on any responsibility. In some cases, a manager is forced by various pressures to meet a measurement and they funnel the same pressures and expectations to their team. The atmosphere is charged with critical and analytical business views that rise above any personal attention or care for a customer. Regardless of the process, hitting the final required numbers are the end-all and be-all of the job.

When a new family comes into play with a child’s birth, the parents must immediately act as a manager to protect their kid from danger. For some it means baby-proofing the house and setting strict rules such as do not cross the street without holding a parent’s hand. As the child grows and learns the differences between right and wrong, the parent must shift from being a manager and become a leader to guide the child through future years as a teacher, then coach, and finally as a friend.

The transition from manager to leader is critical to the success of the family structure and the emotional and mental wellbeing of the child. In households where the parents never transition, the children become cynical and rarely take responsibility for their actions. The kids grow into adulthood without ever understanding who is responsible for their life. This drives an entitlement that expects others, or the government, to take care of them—Welcome Generation Z.

The key is that management is ideal during a crisis or major market shift, while leadership is best for the remaining 95% of the time.

When the COVID crisis hit, government officials stepped up as managers in the name of saving millions of lives. Once the actual death toll (not accounting for inflated numbers and numbers never reported) became known as a fraction of the original concerns, the officials should have transitioned from managing the people to leading them.

Thanks to politics and the officials who loved their new-found power, the transition back to leadership did not happen. The officials did not want the responsibility of the health or financial issues of the people. In fact, most pushed the responsibility down to local small businesses stating that all future deaths are on the businesses that chose to stay open during the pandemic.

Regardless of the bad choices of others, or who wins the battle of survival between government officials trying to save lives by shutting down businesses and small businesses trying to stay open to care for their numerous employee families, each individual needs to decide to be a manager or a leader. Both are the right thing to do at the right times, and also the wrong thing to do at the wrong times.

Difficult decisions like that require us to take on the responsibility to make the right decision for such a time as this. The thing that makes this decision easier is knowing that 95% of the time taking the responsibility and leading your team or family forward is the right choice. We just need to be careful to switch to a management style during the onset of a crisis, and purposefully shift back to a leadership style when the initial wave of the crisis has been abated.

To be a leader we must take responsibility for our actions and decisions. Also, we must never expect anyone else to take care of us, especially if they don’t have our best interest at heart. Here is where Generation Z struggles, thinking that government has their best interest at heart—but that topic is for another day.

Take responsibility for your choices and actions. Manage when you must, to get out of crisis, but get back to leading again as quickly as possible. And, don’t be a follower only, for all too often you might wake up to the realization that you are following the wrong person, plan, or politics. It’s your life, so go after being the best you that you can be by taking the risk of being responsible for you.

Copyright © 2020 by CJ Powers

Church Strip Clubs and the Media’s Truth

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I read about two churches, in two different states, that were ordered by government officials to close in the name of COVID while those same officials allowed local strip clubs to remain open. Based on the specific language in the orders, the churches decided to notify the authorities that they were now strip clubs—One stating, “Where we strip the devil of his hold, power, and authority over people’s lives!” Yes, the churches stayed open in spite of the orders and have pending court dates.

The Supreme Court of the United States prevented the state of New York from upholding lockdown restrictions on houses of worship, writing, “Even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.”

In the meantime, the media has gone nutty in our area with over hyped fears that led up to Thanksgiving Day. Their exaggerated warnings focused on making it politically incorrect for families to share a meal and churches to have services.

The media’s main fear-based message highlighted the skyrocketing tests (up to around 150,000 per day at that time). The story swelled with references to a huge wave about to crash down on our society and overburden the hospitals. They did not report that large numbers of the people being tested had no symptoms and just wanted proof that they didn’t have the virus so they could get together with family.

Nor did the news share that the number of actual positive cases during this time was between 6-12%, depending on the day. That’s right, out of the 150,000 tests, less than 10% of the tests were positive. The news didn’t broadcast that information.

In fact, when the media started the fear hype, they didn’t inform the public that the number of confirmed positives was at only one person for every 20 tests, the lowest recorded in COVID history. That’s right, when the number of confirmed cases were at the lowest, the media started their fear hyping campaign.

While the hype continues, the media also leaves out information about the fatality rate. During this big Thanksgiving season hype campaign, the fatality rate dropped down to 2%. In fact, it’s been on a steady decline since May. Yes, a steady decline—so why the push for more lockdowns? Weren’t the lockdowns to reduce the death rate?

By the way, you can read all the data points at ourworldindata.com.

The numbers that haven’t been broadcast make it clear that the media is filtering out the truth. Or, as social media would express it, the networks are sharing “their truth.” Maybe it’s time for a new media company to step up and present just the facts and allow us to interpret them for ourselves.

© 2020 by CJ Powers

The Thanksgiving Filter

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I prefer my turkey smothered in cranberry sauce, rather than gravy, which I save for a perfectly formed gully in my small mound of mashed potatoes. Black olives that once fit on the tips of my childish fingers continue to accompany my filled plate. Aside from all of the fixins, my masterful pumpkin pie with its famous secret ingredient continues to cap off a great feast where memories are shared.

But this year is a bit different due to many undesirable changes. Who would have thought that politicians, the media and social media influencers would alter the course of our culture in 2020 as they leveraged the numerous and significant events we faced?

I was raised to never make life-altering decisions during a crisis. The reason was to avoid empowering the negative event to determine an outcome. However, sometimes we are forced to make significant decisions at inopportune times.

Thankfully, we can look back on history for a filter that helps us sort through the barrage of false information to decide an outcome based on who we are as a people, rather than being sucked into the latest impromptu force or power group supported by a biased media.

Thanksgiving is a great time to reset our filter to the core principles of who we are as a people. Those who came over on the Mayflower knew exactly what their joint goal was and reduced it to writing with the crafting of the Mayflower Compact—the predecessor to our Constitution. Their “why” in life was clear as they had undertaken the “…voyage to plant the first colony…” for the “…Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith…”

The religious freedom of the people was at the forefront of their actions. They were a desperate people who wanted all men to have and cherish their God-given rights. They desired equal laws based on morals, not the latest trends or political movements. And, it was all for the general good of the colony, not individual people groups that rise in popularity from time to time.

Their words stated, “…solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another; (we) covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony…”

So this Thanksgiving, I once again used the filter set by our forefathers to determine what I can do as an individual on behalf of my community. My local answer has been to help others learn how to speak their peace and share their passions online. I have encouraged and taught many how to come across in a professional manner so their words are given due consideration.

In my attempts to offer encouragement, I was amazed at how few people wanted to improve their online communication skills. I’m pretty sure their lack of desire comes from a dwindling confidence in speaking up for what’s right, especially in the middle of cultural change that forces self-preservation—after all, many have lost jobs when those objecting to an opinion, twist their views into an evil attack against society.

It takes courage to speak against those who blur the lines between privilege and entitlement, and focus on the individual instead of what’s best for the general good of all people. It’s much easier to stay quiet and hope the social media bully picks on someone else, a person who we can provide empathy.

However, those that created our heritage didn’t sit idly by, but instead gave up their comforts in life to pursue the most honorable activity of all—battled for the good of all in their community.

During this Thanksgiving Day weekend, please consider what you can do locally to help those in need and see to the freedom of everyone’s religious beliefs and spoken opinions. For this practice shall certainly strengthen our God-given rights, for which we are all thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

© 2020 by CJ Powers