Over the weekend students, teachers, parents and a whole array of civilians took to the streets to participate in the March For Our Lives protest. These protests were born out of the Parkland, Florida school shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead.
Since the shooting, the students of Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have rallied, organized, and led a nation to call for reform of gun laws. And aside from a face-to-face meeting with survivors, families, and friends of the victims, President Trump hasn't been particularly involved.
On Saturday March 24th, hundreds of thousands of people marched for their lives--both here in America and around the world. Meanwhile, Trump was in Mar-a-Lago, playing golf--and regardless of your stance on gun reform, there is a lot to learn here about leadership.
Specifically, every entrepreneur and leader should learn these three valuable lessons:
1. It's not a leader's job to agree with everyone's opinion. But good leaders should take the time to hear them out.
If you're the CEO of a company, and the majority of your employees feel strongly enough to band together and bring up their concerns to you, you should respect them enough to take the time to listen.
Great leaders are known for being enthusiastic, loyal, and most of all competent. Take a look a Steve Jobs. He's a hero in the entrepreneurial and tech world. His innovation and dedication created the Apple franchise that forever changed the way we interact with technology.
Today, many of us look to Jeff Bezos for guidance. He structured Amazon to be a loyal and thoughtful program. He's known for always hearing and prioritizing his consumer base.
These qualities matter. They're what separate good leaders from poor leaders. Trump's apparent inability to do so is one of the primary concerns people have with his leadership style.
2. In hard times and happy times alike, good leaders should lead.
Or, at the very least, show up.
During this weekend's demonstrations, Trump resided in Mar-a-Lago--a private club less than an hour's drive from Parkland, Florida.
It's essential that good leaders be present. They should never avoid a situation or a group of people asking them for answers or justice.
Last week Mark Zuckerberg was publicly shamed for doing just that. As Facebook was being scrutinized for misusing their users data, Zuckerberg was nowhere to be found--and people where rightfully outraged. I couldn't go a day without reading a headline like "Where is Zuckerberg?" or "Still no sign of Zuckerberg."
He eventually held a public forum on CNN where he apologized--which didn't make up for his absence, but was is a positive step. Zuckerberg is taking the time to address the ways Facebook has been misusing user data.
Yesterday, Zuckerberg took out full-page ads in multiple American and British newspapers, stating, "We have a responsibility to protect your information. And if we can't, we don't deserve it." He's holding himself accountable, and that's good leadership.
3. Leaders need to be held accountable. Not just sometimes, but always.
When you're in a leadership position, your words and actions both directly and indirectly affect the people you represent. Dismissive leaders do not make great leaders.
Communities across America rallied in efforts to show congress how serious the are about making efforts to address gun violence. All the while, the leader of our country wasn't around to see it, or hear them.
Have you ever worked for someone who just wouldn't take you seriously? I have, and it was not enjoyable. As an employee, when a leader does not hear you, or respect your work, it makes you feel undervalued. It can be extremely frustrating.
You should take the time to make the people who follow you feel valuable. You should take your job seriously, both in your day-to-day functions and as a leader. You're representing a group of people--and your decisions affect those people.
We live in a time where high school students are leading our nation's efforts for gun reform. Their voices and their dedication created a powerful movement. It used to be safe to say that no matter your job title, you should be able to do it better than a high school student.
Apparently, that's no longer the case.