There are many ways to consider leadership’s future and I often focus on schools and education (not the same thing) and kids—who are the leaders, actual and positional, tomorrow.
But there is another view of leadership’s future worth considering and that is of leadership as an industry, as opposed to an action or description.
Make no mistake, leadership, directly and indirectly, is definitely an industry.
Consider the standard definition of ‘industry’: A category used to describe a company’s primary business activity, usually determined by the largest source of a company’s revenues.
From individual coaches to major consultants and every size in-between, thousands of people earn their daily bread and pay their mortgages with money made through their activities in the leadership industry. Even those who aren’t paid in money are earning something, whether it’s enhanced reputation, a way to spread their opinions/beliefs, an ego boost or something still more esoteric.
I’m not saying that this is a bad thing or a good thing, but it is a thing worth noting.
In a previous post I warned of the need to digest and tweak expert information as opposed to swallowing it whole and this is even more important when it comes to leadership, considering the vast volume of it and the media’s constant focus and insistence that it is leadership that separates the winners and losers.
Even if you subscribe to that idea you need to develop a definition that is relevant to your world and stands the test of time, not some offered up by the industry.
Leadership terms are casually thrown around, applied by some to any and every action that a person does, may do or should do and by others only to the actions/words of those in positional leadership roles.
Perhaps these two points are worth accepting, although I’m sure many will disagree with me,
- Leadership is an industry in which people, directly or indirectly, earn their living.
- Leadership information comes in a multiplicity of forms and the quality varies widely.
Accepting these two ideas results in one conclusion: like investing information, leadership information should be digested, internalized and tweaked for your individual needs at both that point in your life and in your future.
Flickr image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hikingartist/4582034468/