The last two weeks have been very eventful in our nation. From the mass shooting in Charleston, which resulted in a spark of controversy over the Confederate flag being “banned” in many public places as well as race relations, to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriages. These two major events have sparked everything from celebration to debate and outrage. The media, and especially social media, are saturated with emotions from all angles.
So as a leader, how do you react to it? The answer…very carefully!
Your actions as a leader are watched and monitored by everyone. While you may have a strong opinion about a topic, how you respond to it can have a lasting effect with your followers. Certainly by the position you hold in an organization, your words and thoughts should be limited and carefully shared. Sadly enough, we find that they can be used against you later when you least expect it, even if you are merely “joking around.”
We now live in a society where the right to freedom of speech only exists to the extent of public opinion. Though your actions may say one thing, the words you speak could be perceived otherwise. As leaders, you are on the radar. Often, we must hold our opinions internally to ourselves because of public scrutiny. This is a challenge of leadership, and one of the most difficult because it is personal to you as an individual and human being with real emotions.
The privilege of leadership is that by doing this, you can help make society better. The negativity that is being spread via social media is dividing our society, not making it stronger. Currently, we are airing our dirty laundry and issues in a jester’s court in lieu of having civilized discussions. True leaders can take a situation and attempt to bring calm and understanding. This doesn’t mean you change how you feel, but you must seek to understand how others truly feel before attempting to impose your view on them.
The best advice I can give, whether it comes from social media, CNN, or Fox News, don’t play into the hype. While there are serious issues in our society today, most are being perpetuated by sensationalism. Take a breath America, we as a leader are being watched around the world, and our behavior isn’t reflective of the great country we truly are.