Where is authentic leadership these days?
Is a generation growing up in apathy, resigned with the concept of leaders being tagged in the same thought pattern as “manipulative,” “self-serving” and “corrupt”? And is leadership merely the continuing pursuit of profit power?
Idealism is not only dead. it is impractical. While you’re at it, toss out visionary thinking too.
What was once profound philosophy is reduced to arriving at a pragmatic goal. And the least imaginative resolution being offered is “to compromise” because it becomes the necessary stance when the voices of ideologies reach the deafening arena of polarization.
Distrust is rampant. Go it alone!
Ostensibly, today it is Media who has taken over and pronounces the Virtue of the Day. And it has to do with being trendy.
What in the word, “Leadership” attracts? If you haven’t noticed how the word is pandered about, notice then that leadership seminars abound, leadership schools and leadership workshops make their rounds year in and year out. Their reach is global! What are these purveyors of leadership selling and what are the guaranteed results that continue to attract potential leaders, recruited into their sphere of influence? Who are the idols that the young mean to emulate?
Our society has placed a premium in the end goal of “profit.”
If you must sweat and strain to reach some level of power, if you must build a pyramid network of willing followers, then they claim you must learn the strategies in achieving “leadership skills.” Only then are you guaranteed the image of BEING A LEADER.
Is Leadership learned as such authentic? In time, you are addicted to sustaining the applause, crafted your own developed sense of uniqueness and unwilling to believe that anyone else can supersede you. You have succumbed to hubris.
But Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970, author of The Servant as Leader claims,
The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types…
The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?
Servant Leadership has arrived. A mere seedling perhaps. But it has its day when you and I will witness this gluttonous society upchuck the remnants of greed. In the past century, a man was doomed to die for saying that “the change you want in this world begins with you.” Today Servant Leaders are emerging in strange places.
The seed was planted in you. You deserve the leadership you tend. Be patient. Believe.