Where have all the good leaders gone?

I write a lot about the political, social and environmental crises of the day, and how each of us can respond to those crises in our own personal and unique way by discovering and creating our Life's Work.

But there is one crisis in particular that underscores the urgency of why each of us has to embark on our own personal journeys of discovery into our Life's Work.

And that is the global crisis in leadership.

Where have all the good leaders gone?

It seems that it is increasingly difficult to identify those people with the traits that help bring success to teams, companies, communities, and countries.

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Anyone can learn to be a good leader. But becoming a good leader means incorporating leadership skills as part of one's Life Work. And it means accepting that leadership is never about benefits -- leadership is about sacrifice, and responsibility. 

I call this "the leader is always last" philosophy. A leader should be the hardest working person on the team, having a mastery over all of the tasks of an organization, from effective boardroom skills to how the trash gets taken out at night. 

A leader should make sure that their employees eat before they do; that they are the ones ultimately responsible if a project is not completed on time; that they are the public face of an organization, and they must comport their public behavior to the highest ethical standards, or else the entire organization will suffer.

Good leaders are empathic and kind. But they should also inspire discipline and respect. 

We live in an age where people aspire to positions of leadership because they want to satisfy their egos. This is the "I am always first" philosophy. This is a terrible philosophy, that is causing a lot of destruction to the planet. 

For people who aspire to leadership as part of their Life's Work, they should understand and realize that the path of effective, world-changing leadership is a path of sacrifice, struggle and pain. It is not a path for the weak. It will bring bruises, blood and tears. And it will require, eventually, a confrontation and a reckoning with those leaders who are in it for themselves. 

The world is too precious to be left in the hands of the selfish. Where are all the good leaders? They are in each of us. Who will answer the call to lead as the last?