Sinkholes – You never know they are there… until the last moment when you step into one. A mirage on the surface, a bottomless abyss under… Indeed, a foundation problem, and we only see the results of them after time.

Over time, in either case, underlying “shifting” goes on. The same can be said for leadership in society and, in some cases, within ourselves.

Think about it in these terms… a sinkhole is an area of ground where water drains no other way than down and stays right there—all that water, all the junk; nowhere to go. Somewhere, something is going on underneath the surface. Sinkholes “just don’t happen.” Slowly, small incremental changes over time, and… wow, there it is. And that is when we ask ourselves, “How did that get there?”


I offer this analogy as to what we see in many areas of leadership today. What happened with leadership where it is no longer loyal, servant-based, others first? One could argue that some leaders are just a sinkhole, to begin with; yes, that is probably true. But what about leaders who start out with a great foundation? No one sees the eroding, wasting away.

Trust in authentic leadership is quickly dissolving in our society, but it has gradually happened, and we have allowed it. Somewhere, we have compromised here and there. While others have taken a hard-line stance, others just agree to disagree and move closer to their thinking. Through said compromise and our own passiveness, we are the ones who are helping create sinkholes. Instead of filling them up and hardening the foundation to stand, we will still allow it to be watered down, knowing that the water has no place to go beyond staying in that sinkhole.

I always end my classes with this, “Society needs good people, go forth and prosper.” We know what good leadership should be and what it should look like. However, we must also affirm that. When we/others start leading with self-based interests, no loyalty, passive-aggressiveness, you name it… the leadership foundation disappears. Unseen to the eye, until we have stepped into it or the crack is so big, no amount of repair can help.

We had a sinkhole in our yard a good time back, maybe ten years or so. It was big. I asked that same question as stated above, “How did that get there?” That sinkhole does not exist anymore. I went to HomeDepot and bought a weeping willow sapling for $9.95, end of the year plant sale. That sapling looked bad (think Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree). We planted that tree in that sinkhole with good dirt, staked it to grow upright, and of course… showed it some love. We rebuilt the foundation, the roots took hold, and we now have a huge weeping willow in our yard.

As leaders, let’s do our part to at least try to see areas where sinkholes and foundation problems can occur and be proactive in making sure that we do what we need to do to keep it from falling in. Once it falls, much work has to be done for it to become solid again.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

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