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.


Blogger Denny said...

I think it's also because our society rewards medicority, and punsishes exceptionalism. It starts all the way back in school, where kids who excel in academics are ridiculed and scorned, and anti-intellectualism is rampant. Once we "grow up," society is often like the reality show "Survivor." The folks who excel are immediately "voted out," while the key to success is often living an uneventful/mediocre/non-threatening existence, for which you will be rewarded with promotions. We have a tendency to rejoice in the downfall of others, and if you decide you want to serve in public office, expect you and your family to have every little fact about them scrutinized to the nth degree, your private life destroyed, and everything you say dissected, twisted, and manipulated to make you the devil incarnate. As a result, the only folks who do run for office are either pathological, or so mediocre that they have never taken a stand in their lives, so as to not have "skeletons." This is what we are left with.

11:30 AM  

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