Monday, September 29, 2008

Leaders Intentionally Blind

But I’d shut my eyes in the sentry-box, so I didn’t see nothin’ wrong.

- Rudyard Kipling

There's plenty of evidence that leadership has failed in many financial institutions and the costs are going to be horrendous.  If a leader chooses not to see, hear or speak about evil, whatever the excuses of complexity are, nothing else can be aligned.

One could argue that financial instruments had become so complex that it was not practical for leaders to understand and be savvy about what was happening.  If that is the case, then they are no longer leaders.  Other, possibly more accurate terms, spring to mind, but we will not go down that path.

It is very popular to talk about people as being leaders.  Somehow it seems this word has some semantic coolness about it that everyone wants to be associated with.  There's another "L" word which somehow seems more accurate - lemmings.  

It is frequently pointed out, lemmings as a whole, have a lousy reputation, but no lemming has ever been singled out for their foolishness, neither has one ever been identified as a leader.

Next time people are bandying around the title "Leader", ask yourself if they are truly a leader or simply the lead lemming?  Then ask if you really want to align yourself with where they are going?

Photo Credit: Mr Rad


Josh said...
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Josh said...

Great post, timely point to make.

Much of what I see is a belief that great leaders are born, not bred. This leads to a failure to train people effectively.

Also, people seem to think that "leadership" is this great flashy thing, and "management" is a dull, boring activity. Everyone wants the shiny flashy things right now in our microwave culture here in the US.

Leadership without management is like a gun without a barrel. Sure it's explosive, but who knows what it will hit?

Josh Nankivel