Absentee leadership is not about a lack of physical presence. Quite often, the best leaders are the ones who are out of the office much of the time, making connections and positioning the organization for success. One can be out of the office yet still present to the team. Rather, absentee leaders are those who distance themselves from those they purport to lead, and the effects are disastrous.
There is a distinction to be made between giving up and letting go. We give up on things when we stop caring about them—when they become more trouble than they are worth. By contrast, letting go does not mean one does not care. Rather, it means one accepts that the desired outcome is not going to happen and that continuing to pursue it could be harmful to oneself, one’s relationships, or future endeavors.
Success and failure are two sides of the same coin. They go together. The most successful people have known failure just like everyone else. The real difference between successful and unsuccessful people is that successful people are willing to try, fail, try again, fail again, learn from all of it, and persevere until they succeed.
Like a lake, there is great beauty in the ‘ecosystem’ of philanthropy, which draws people to their best selves but is no less contingent upon living rightly with one another. Easily fractured, the relationships we foster are what make transformational change possible. Carelessness therein sabotages the mission, and needless human suffering invariably follows.
Imagine tossing a pebble into a calm pond. Then imagine tossing a boulder into the same pond. How does the water react? As David Allen notes, “totally appropriate to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact.”