On a post over at Managing Leadership, Wally Bock left a great comment that’s germane to my recent posts and to the notion that the idea of ‘leadership’ has been corrupted by the leadership business and the media.
“…people prefer magical thinking to accountability.”
They sure do. That magical thinking is just great for all those who don’t want the responsibility of making their own decisions. It’s wonderful to have a ‘leader’ tell you what to think and how to act. That way, when things get screwed up, it isn’t your fault; it’s the leader’s fault. You get to say, ‘S/he told me to…’ and poof—instant absolution with no strings attached.
“There’s a joke about a professor who says that a certain idea is “fine in practice but may not work in theory. We didn’t have a problem identifying who was the leader before we had leadership theory. Nobody worried about whether that Caesar fellow was a true or real or authentic leader. They just followed him.”
Caesar didn’t worry about it, either. He just did [whatever] and assumed that everyone would follow along. And follow they did, at least until he decided to make his leadership official. At that point their response was direct and very final.
We followers need to do something similar to the leadership movement; not necessarily as final, because it does have its uses.
We need to reform its thinking; recognize that leadership skills are for everyone—not just a select few—and stop it from appointing/anointing those selective few as ‘leaders’.
So, new mantra—everybody is a leader; lead yourself first and don’t worry abut the rest.
Image credit: sxc.hu