the idolatry of leadership

Courage. 

Vision. 

Power. 

Promise. 

Productivity.

Motivation.

Influence. 

Talent.

Risk. 

Integrity. 

Unity. 

Control.

            These are just some of the confident words touted as the essence of leadership in books, in seminars, in educational centers, in corporate juggernauts, in self-help programs and also on posters and mugs throughout North America.  Our society has tended to value leaders who embody these qualities and has been quick to dismiss the worth of humility, service and other values that are perceived as low-impact characteristics.  After all, we Western human-beings of the 21st century want leaders who produce prestigious achievement and quantitative success.  We romantacize attractiveness, autonomy and authority as the ideal character traits of the prevailing climate of leadership in our culture today.  Leaders are often determined, therefore, as those who are able to manipulate outcomes by exercising effective or profitable control over organizations through top-down hierarchical structures.  As a result, what people generally desire in the person of a president, a CEO, a celebrity is an undefeatable, indestructible, unflappable, inexhaustible, and unbelievable leader.  In other words, if to err is human, then society seeks an un-human leader!

4 Comments

  1. Great to hear from you, Len. I’m enjoying the transition… though it’s been incredibly busy. Would love to reconnect in person one of these days… Ontario winter will be a shock compared to warm Kelowna. Fare thee well!

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