You hear about it every day on television, on radio, in print and online. Failed leadership… faltering leadership… incompetent leadership… ineffective leadership and various other references for leadership that is simply no longer working or effective.

The leadership crisis is not just an issue in Washington, DC, it’s a global epidemic. From a national perspective the crisis is a lot bigger than the GSA or ICE. These agencies simply represent the tip of the iceberg at the federal government level. There are also a vast number of leadership crises in state government all across the country.

And the same holds true for county governments, city governments and local townships. For example, here at home you need only to think of the revolving door of the Town Manager position in Surfside Beach or the never ending story of the Mayor and Town Council in Atlantic Beach.

The leadership crisis is not isolated solely to government, it is just as rampant in business, industry and even civic organizations. So, the looming question is “why” is there such a glaring lack of qualified leadership?

Clearly this is a highly complex issue for which volumes could be written, so for now let’s keep it simple. Here are several straight forward perspectives for your consideration:

The first factor to consider with regard to the leadership crisis is that it’s very much a perception problem. When you see, hear of or encounter an individual who has for what ever reason been placed in a highly visible or high profile position -- You and the general public automatically view, consider and leap to the conclusion that this individual is in fact a leader. As well, you have been conditioned over time to also perceive that said individual is also a “qualified” leader.

In most cases… nothing could be further from the truth. The second factor to consider is that the vast majority of people who are perceived to be in a leadership role have never in fact had any formal leadership training.

The other critical factor which represents your third consideration is that there is very little leadership development training that is actually available. Virtually all of the leadership training that is available is in the form of 3 day seminars and 5 day conferences. Clearly these training vehicles do not provide enough depth or time to create viable leaders. Even renowned trainings such as Dale Carnegie and Disney are typically only 1 day to 5 day events. And if you happened to read my last article about seminars and conferences… then you are well aware that only about 2% of the training information presented is ever retained by the participants.

When you consider these three factors alone, it is easy to comprehend how our country has ensnared itself in a leadership crisis. Many of our viable and proven leaders are part of the Baby Boomer generation that has already retired or like Steve Jobs and others, have passed from this life. They are readily absent at a time when they are critically needed.

There was a time when leadership was about doing the right things, regardless of how difficult, for the right reasons. Leadership was about being willing to take on trying circumstances, execute the hard decisions and then accept full responsibility for them. These are the kind of leaders that we need now more than ever to heal our country, invigorate our economy, fuel business expansion and motivate our future generations.

Yet in the here and now, leadership seems to be doing everything but the right things. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us all as citizens and business professionals to start taking the role of leadership in our society more seriously than ever before. Begin now by taking a fresh look at what is going on around you and your family, your work and your hometown. Start the search for authentic people that have the potential to become authentic leaders and then truly do the right things for the right reasons.

And while you’re at it… start being a better example that others can take notice of and then follow.

Copyright © 2012 Developing Forward | Thomas H. Swank, CBC | All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Tom is a trusted business advisor, author and founder of The Leadership Academy. Get Tom’s FREE CD “Your Top 7 Success Strategies for 2012 and Beyond” at