I have a friend who suffers at his job “because of all the jerks” he has to work with. That he has to labor with such people does not make him unique. However, he fails twice: 1) his ability to bring his best – independent of what those around him are doing, and 2) the flawed approach he uses to creating change around him.

He fails because he suffers from “as soon as” syndrome. “As soon as they change,” he says, “then I will.”

Here’s the elephant in the office: Many teams endure sub-par performances because people allow others to determine their own behavior. “As soon as he stops being a jerk, I’ll treat him with respect.” Or, “As soon as she is accountable, then I’ll trust her.” Or, “As soon as they change their evils ways, then I’ll treat them with dignity.”

This approach is logically flawed. Yet, do you know anyone who suffers from this disorder?


Waiting for others to lead guarantees we’ll never realize our best. The “as soon as” syndrome reveals you’re not accountable to your own standards of conduct. And it allows you to predict the future: you will only be as good as the poorest-behaving person around you.

Leadership is often thought of as a grand act: when significant decisions are made or heroic actions taken, while we count the days until our image appears on a postage stamp. Yet, effective leadership begins with the seemingly unnoticeable but significant decisions to model the behaviors we know are right – whether others around us are able to do the same or not.

Whose despicable behavior will now evoke the best from you?

Where will you lead – where will you stomp elephants – today?

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