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Embrace the Suck and Control the Controllable.

It sucks if you work for a boss and not a leader.

It sucks if the people in senior leadership positions in your organization shoot down any new ideas and crush any attempts at innovation.

It sucks if you work for someone who is a student of leadership, but not a practitioner of leadership.

It sucks if your agency fails to develop leadership skills in people before they get promoted.

It sucks if your boss sends you to leadership training, but fails to attend him or herself and then shuts you down when you attempt to implement what you learned in the training.

The suck factor is real and is part of life and leadership. If you take the time to make a list of all the things you control, your boss will not be on the list. If fact, everything on the list will have to do with you. Rather than trying to change your boss and the whole organization focus on what you control and control the controllable.

I talk to too many frontline people and frontline leaders who are frustrated by the lack of leadership in their organization. Their frustration often comes from trying to change their bosses and the parts of the organization above them.

In an ideal world great culture would be driven top down and supported from the foundational level up. Few people work in an ideal world. Instead of trying to change up in the organization focus on what you control and control the controllable.

As a frontline supervisor, be a positive influence for the people you lead and create a great culture for them. Then recruit your peers to do the same for the people they have the privilege to lead. As you grow the tribe of frontline supervisors who are leading positive change and creating positive culture you can change the bulk of the organization through sheer numbers. Even if you are never able to influence anyone higher up in the organization you can positively impact the organization and create an environment where the majority of the people enjoy coming to work, feel a sense of inclusion and belonging and feel like they are part of contributing to something bigger than themselves.

Your boss or bosses may take the credit when the organization turns around. Be prepared for that and be ok with that.

If you focus on what you control and control the controllable you will likely come to the realization that you have more influence than you realize.

Remember that leadership is a choice and a journey and it starts with you. Choose well, keep learning and enjoy the journey.

Brian Willis

Register yourself, and your team for the Dare to Be Great: Strategies for Creating a Culture of Leading online workshop to get everyone on the same page regarding leadership and culture. If you are interested in hosting a live Dare to Be Great workshop reach out to me at