The following article was originally published by Sounding Board Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer, Lori Mazan on LinkedIn.
In actress Alex Bornstein’s moving speech at the Emmy’s this year she said: “My grandmother was in line to be shot into a pit. She asked a guard ‘what happens if I step out of line?’ and he responded ‘I don’t have the heart to shoot you, but somebody will.’ And so my grandmother stepped out of line. And because of that, I am here today.”
Over and over in leadership today, I see leaders committing the same big mistake: They are too afraid to step out of line.
For these leaders, following the crowd gives a false sense of safety. Maybe you have just been promoted to a new position and you don’t want to make a mistake in your first 90 days. Maybe you have a Board to report to and they haven’t yet delivered a clear picture of success. Maybe the stakes are higher than ever so you subconsciously stick to the territory you know.
In a crowd, it’s easy to blend in, to get lost, to defer decision making and complain under your breath about someone else’s leadership choices. And organizational culture today can make it easy for individuals to keep their heads down, immersing themselves in familiar view points, reinforcing stuck positions and putting their own needs first.