This week my son was reading the Diary of Anne Frank, and I looked her up on Wikipedia to share more details about her life. In the middle of the article on her diary was Anne Frank centric porn. I was shocked as I skimmed and forced myself to ignore it for a moment to finish the discussion with my son.
A few times over the course of the night I thought about the article and made a mental note to look at how I can edit a page on Wikipedia.
This morning, I went to send a note to the Wikipedia team, and the inappropriate content was already gone. The last edit shows that the change was made approximately 60 minutes before I got around to sending a message.
I had good intentions, but I was slow to act. I told myself I was wrong about the content (hard to believe) and part of me figured it would be caught by someone else. Lame.
Do your intentions meet action?
We’ve all been there. We’ve seen a situation, recognize the issue, and keep our eye on it hoping that it works out and we’re not the ones who need to step in and sort it out. I mean, we’re willing to do it, of course, but it’s not our place… Bull hockey!
During my interviews for my university a smart young woman asked me the following when we were talking about personal leadership:
“Does stepping in when I see a need even if I’m not the official leader count as leadership?”
Let’s all say the answer in unison: “Yes!”
In the past 24 hours, I failed this personal leadership test with Wikipedia. It’s a lazy way to live – to assume that because it’s someone else’s responsibility, it’s someone else’s problem.
We can’t (and shouldn’t) butt in everywhere to control the situation, but when we see conflict, pain, suffering, inappropriate porn, we’re accountable.
I repeat. You are accountable when you see something that’s wrong even if it’s not your job to fix it.
What?? Accountable? Come on.
I’m not backing down on that one.
You are accountable for your personal leadership.
Will you take action in line with your values or not?
Do you care about making things right when others are ok to live with what’s wrong?
If you don’t take responsibility and embrace accountability, it’s the equivalent of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.
I’m not suggesting that you are the one who needs to right all of the world’s wrongs. I am telling you that you are a leader in your life at work, at home, at school, with friends, with family, among strangers too. You don’t need permission to address a need – you just need to do it.
We all do it in different ways – be accountable for walking your path with integrity.
Offer to buy a homeless person food instead of ignoring them or dropping a quarter into their cup.
Step into a disagreement that’s impacting the entire team to facilitate resolution.
Delete the porn from Wikipedia or send a message about it ASAP.
Merriam Webster defines accountability:
An obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.
You are accountable to living a life on terms that you can feel good about while loving and leading to the best of your ability.
Remember, best intentions are great, but timeliness and action matter too.
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