Wednesday, February 22, 2006

On Leadership, Fear, and Culture

After reading about the behavior of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and former Radio Shack CEO,
Dave Edmondson over the last few weeks I've been thinking about some of the reasons why there seems to be a real lack of great leaders in our generation.

By lack of leadership, I don't mean just CEO's throwing chairs or getting popped for DWI. I mean all leadership in all the world. There literally has been no truly "great" leader I can think of - in my lifetime.

The reason is fear; our culture and our world is drenched in it.

Great leaders make the impossible happen. By that I mean they see possibilities where most everyone else sees barriers. Ghandi and Martin Luther King are two examples of great leaders who achieved such things. Their achievements are generally counter-cultural because it is the faults and limitations of culture itself that they have sought to overcome.

A part of their genius lies in recognizing that culture itself, in as much as at seeks status quo amongst the powerful classes and institutions, depends tremendously upon fears which are in fact ridiculous illusions.

Before we are likely to see any more great leaders, we will need to raise a generation of children that are not suffocated in fear.