April 10, 2017- Trickle Down Values
Trickle Down Values
A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not. –American Proverb
You may be reading this just before, just after, or a long way from a presidential election. Whichever the case, I would like to humbly suggest something to keep in mind when you vote: A leader leads by example whether she or he intends to or not. Invariably what is important to the person on top, quickly becomes important to the rest of the crowd. I believe this is especially true when dealing with values.
I’m sure you’ve seen this as clearly as I. It is perhaps most clear in the President of the country because the person and office are so clearly in the spotlight. But you need look no further than your place of work and your boss.
What does your boss value? Fairness and kindness? The bottom line and money? Family life and children? Social justice and human rights? Self-adulation and power? Looks and social status? Whatever values she/he holds soon will be the popular ones in the organization, the “right” ones. It is inevitable.
So when we vote for a president, or choose anyone for leadership, this is an important element to keep in mind: Soon this person’s values will be the country’s (the city’s, the school’s, the organization’s). They will trickle down, as surely as water seeks its own level.
One of my experiences with this idea is not so high-level and not so great. I was the head of a small organization. And sure enough, my values trickled down. At that particular time my values, from my present perspective, were skewed. I was more interested in playing racquetball than with the thorny challenges of the organization; more interested in developing friendships than in administration.
When I look back now I see my organization was friendly but adrift―badly in need of a strong hand, of a leader with the values of decisiveness and order, the values that come from leading, possibly at the price of popularity.
Be aware that you are trickled down on.
Be aware that your values may trickle down on others.
(Written in 2009)