Don’t Wait For Someone Else To Act

Attending a recent conference for accountants, I was surprised by how many seemed to feel that, even though they were in leadership roles, they could not make things happen.

Now let’s not pretend that leading is easy; it’s not. At the same time my view is that people who choose to step into a leadership role do so because they can make a difference.

Of course it is easy to come up with a whole host of reasons why you cannot change things, like:

  • Well that can only be changed at a national level
  • If only people were more engaged
  • The time is not right because of…… (you fill in the blank)
  • I don’t have the authority
  • I don’t want to go out on a limb
  • You don’t really understand what it is like in my organisation, sector or industry.

Yet here is the reality: When you step into a leadership role you make a positive choice to take the lead, to move things forward, to contribute to strategy and success.

In return you get well rewarded.

Of course it is going to be uncomfortable at times. You will face obstacles, barriers and even complete resistance at times. If all you ever do is wait for someone else to make the tough choices, then you are not a leader; just a well paid follower.

At the end of the day as a leader you are in the risk/reward business. You take balanced risks, get results and get the benefit in terms of your salary.

The question is, are you a leader or just passive and waiting for everyone else to act?

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps professional people become great leaders and managers. Sign up for his free audio e-course Leadership Success at

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

Leave a Comment:

Sean says 4 January 2012

I think a helpful idea to keep coming back to is something expressed well by Stephen Covey’s idea about the Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence. ( for a short summary – not mine so no self-promotion here! 🙂

Yes things would often be better if national policies changed, yes you may not have the authority to change everything that needs fixing right now and yes, as your coach I may not understand everything about your sector (I doubt you do either) AND YET, the only way for you to have ANY impact is to simply give the majority of your focus to what you CAN impact. By implementing the changes you CAN effect, you build momentum, followers and a level of influence that expands… It’s that path that every “famous” leader in their life has walked.

The only way you’ll ever effect a national policy change is if you change what’s within your influence (we might say in the UK, “what’s within your gift”). It may (no it WILL) take time, yet start with the difference you CAN make and see your circle of influence expand to cover the kind of things that you do really want to change.

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