I’ve been trained in leadership, and practiced what I was taught. I’ve read leadership and influencing books, and practiced this too. I’ve held three leadership roles for a period of 8 years in total, and now when I look at our leaders in business, government, and religion I find that we have no leaders in the key positions. Leadership has been abandoned, leadership is dead.
What remains is not a technique that should be used by anyone, and it’s a technique that leadership experts will tell you not to do. This is the old idea of managing by fear. It is the sloppiest management technique and it works with a percentage of your people, but it is divisive to the point that it will form a resistance against you. Then you are in a war, and your skill becomes only that of being able to get rid of your opponents before they get rid of you. In this model anything goes no matter out underhand or out of control, it is the law of gangs and of wicked people. It is a lose – lose technique for all concerned. Your organisation will fail to achieve it’s goals, your people will fail and walk away from you, you will suffer greatly from stress and ill health.
I write this as I learn of the death of Bernie Madoff who ran one of the biggest Ponzi schemes the world has seen. He knew he couldn’t keep it up, he knew he was going to lose, but he continued anyway, he lead investors astray and cost them millions. You could say “more fool them” but as humans we want leaders because not all of us are that way, and as a result we are subject to this kind of scam and in the wider sense we encourage evil leaders by not wanting the responsibility ourselves.
Well the bright future is not with individual leaders that the masses follow, it is easy to divulge your responsibility to a haloed individual who will lead, but just take a look at the some of the leaders we have today in governments. Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau. These are not shining examples of leadership and do not use the best of leadership knowledge. Instead they simply use the worst technique of fear to rule, and they deceive those around them to remain where they are. They are not the leaders we want or need, so it is up to you to throw off your inhibitions about leading, and to do it yourself.
Leading an organisation of one seems like a non starter, but the qualities you need are still as valid to lead yourself as they are to lead others. Some of the skills you need are as follows:
Decisiveness – Make a decision and stick with it, no excuses and endless procrastination or blaming others.
Integrity – Say what you mean and mean what you say, back this up with ethical and moral positions on topics
Communication – you must be a good communicator (listening, speaking, writing), there is no pretending here. Seek discussion and agreement that is correct in a way that is open and fair and echo this back to others.
Honesty – The truth hurts, but secrets kill. Do not risk being caught in a stupid lie that you think makes things better for you, as this will inevitably make things worse for all, now and in the future.
Trust – Offer trust, but verify that what you are saying, and what you are hearing is correct before acting. Think critically about everything.
Resilience – You will be punched, and punched hard, but that shouldn’t change your view if you are in the right. So roll with those punches.
Be spiritual – No human is balanced without understanding spirit. It doesn’t matter what religion you follow, find that balance and kill off your ego.
Say no and mean it – Don’t be a push over and let others con you. You don’t always need to say no, but when you do stick with it.
No politics – Do not take part in or allow politics to sway your thinking, party lines are not how you should vote or decide what is right versus wrong.
Responsibility – You are accountable for what you think, say and do. No one else, and no excuses. Seek honest feedback and improve depending on what you receive as comments.
Positive cunning – Inevitably someone will try to con you, so learn the tricks of conmen. Understand how people work psychologically, train yourself in how to defend against evil. But only use it in defence.
Accept failure – If you do all of the above and are cast out of a group, so be it, the group was not for you and you did not get in with the right people. Do no be afraid to fail and move on if you know you are acting correctly. Never beg to remain and fall victim to blackmail.
A world full of empowered self-leaders would be a thing to see and really allow for agreements to be made and held. It has been said that no man is an island, and it is true that you cannot be successful on your own. but you can organise a trading alliance where each island has their own rules and laws and policies, and these can all interact successfully if the above leadership traits are used. This is what I call Individual Collectivism.
The emperor is not wearing any clothes!