Leaders - Step Up or Step Aside

Updated: Aug 8

PERFECT! So You Want To Lead? You can't seem to get to the next level. Some will tell you it's all about luck. They are wrong. You make your own luck. Those that fell short in their careers whatever they do always have excuses. In reality, they paused too soon and thought they were safe. Others allow fear to rule their ability to lead. Some just got comfortable with their status. Usually all of them are shocked when they fall short of their goals. Or worse challenged by another leader who is well grounded and not trapped.

The problem with most leaders is that they forgot why the took on the job.

If you are not willing to make a difference to society and being inclusive, you will not have the opportunity to lead.There are so many opportunities to demonstrate real courage and how far a leader is willing to go to make a difference. Instead the majority fail when it comes to dealing with adversity and the challenges that question their competencies and capabilities. Yes it is tough and demanding being a leader but as a friend of mine always used to remind me, "once someone is in a role too long they forget what their real purpose was. " That is the problem right there. So many different types of organizations have failed because of this on going problem. And then the fall into the a trap of playing it safe.

As they old saying goes "talk is cheap" and it really is. It's one thing to make promises or bold statements. However, bold actions to back up that rhetoric by showing a plan of action that has the potential to lead to the right results, creates something very important. And that is called "Trust."

Trust is one crucible of leading that many forget along the way. How does that happen? Leaders get caught up in their titles and status. After a while many begin to believe that they are untouchable. In fact, I have seen it many roles and walks of life, where leaders remain in a position long-term and never add any value other than a few reinforcing words of encouragement. Hidden leadership is not effective leadership.


Leadership is not a part-time casual role it is a full time role that demands a leader to be visible, transparent and honest with their organization, customers, suppliers and others that support their brand. A career in leading large businesses has taught me that if you are going to be the best in your role you have to take risks, otherwise there is no way you can survive. Can you imagine a senior leader of a company coming in everyday and shutting their door and speaking to no one? I have seen it. In addition to experience senior leaders who practice silence because they believe it will protect their jobs. When leaders behave like Regents and surround themselves with Debutants, they are ineffective and will do nothing that will hurt their position.

The world has changed for businesses and all institutions and their leaders for that matter. You can no longer ignore issues that impact customers and the general public. It is no longer enough to speak about initiatives that protect the environment, public health, social injustice and corporate transparency. Today it is clear that a leader is hiding from major organizational issues or threats if all they do is provide verbal support. The business world and other institutions need leadership that will take action. Who cares how long someone has been in their job. Are they delivering results that is the bigger question?

I personally discovered that I feared mediocrity more than I feared failure. So my journey to the CEO level, Board directorships and all other activities were driven by self determination, proving my skills, demonstrating my business abilities and the courage to lead. As a result I am always called upon to consider new leadership challenges. I am not saying you should follow the same behaviours, but they worked for me.

Leaders don't create change by making speeches, they "Step Up" they take a stand and execute plans that will deliver results. The shareholders, board of directors or CEO who hired and or appointed these leaders did so because they expected results, not long speeches. Leaders cannot be casual-part time. If they can't Step up, then it is time for them to Step Aside.

My name is George Minakakis I am the CEO of Inception Retail Group Inc. Author of the Great Transition The Emergence of Unconventional Leadership and my new book The Bricks & Mortar Future Proofing Retail (coming August 2021) Also a resident of Milton, Ontario. I've travelled and lived globally launching new businesses and rebuilding broken ones.

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