Leadership is a very personal thing. It’s about the person leading. All leaders have different styles. No two great leaders have much in common except their ability to lead. Global leadership is currently at an all-time low. Western leadership not only lacks style; it lacks credibility.
The trouble with leadership is that some people really do need leading. I think the only people who “need strong leaders” are weak followers. They’re lost, unable to take the initiative in any direction. The lack of initiative, at any level, is a symptom of true failure.
You don’t beat problems by waiting for them to hit you like a train. That’s exactly what the world has been doing, for several decades. Intelligent leaders anticipate; the current herd of cattle procrastinate. They digress in to minutiae as the problems breed like bacteria.
You call this leadership?
Rhetoric isn’t leadership; it’s talk.
- Ideology isn’t leadership; it’s an excuse for what is done.
- No amount of media hype equates to a single atom of leadership.
- Leadership means taking responsibility; seen any personal accountability recently?
- Leadership means personal commitment; seen any sudden outbreaks of personal guts?
Consider the current range of problems, which now extend to even such basics as water, land use and generational futures:
- Would you run your family on the basis of no water, no housing, no healthy environment, and not even a clear path to a future for your kids? That’s what the current “leadership” is doing, very badly.
- Would you raise your family in a sewer, with a sewer as the future? It’s happening on a truly colossal scale. The sheer scale of global contamination of all kinds is raging unchecked.
- Would you train your family to believe that failure is the norm? The mere idea of the public interest is now the synonym for losers.
The disorganized mess which global civilization has become is the epitome of failure of leadership at all levels. Instead of focusing on the obvious big issues, and charging in in a coordinated way with all guns blazing, the odd squeak is heard.
Instead of ferocious all-out counters to rampant crime, corruption and political excess at the expense of the public, a few clichés trundle out, and nothing – meaning absolutely nothing – is done. It’s endemic.
The social leadership is now just about giveaways from the public purse to anyone or anything that happens to be able to freeload at any given time. Privatization was never about economic efficiency; prices have been rising and quality of life deteriorating ever since it began. Free enterprise built the modern economy; freeloading is destroying it, and it’s from the top, not the welfare class.
Deregulation is fine, for people who break laws. For everyone else, it’s just an opportunity to get ripped off. Another meaningless myth from pseudo-leadership with no ideas, just greed, as its raison d’etre. Even a game of football has rules, but not a society? Come off it.
Pollution is poisoning the world. Instead of being exterminated like it deserves, mindless subservience to greed is the excuse for a toxic mix of chemicals covering the entire planet. No leadership at all on this subject.
Leadership failure as a science
The failures are everywhere:
Instead of properly managing child sex abuse, it’s become an industry, and abusers, who’ve committed actual crimes, are protected by religions. It’s OK for people to pay to have their kids abused. Is that leadership, as you know it?
Instead of acknowledging problems and major economic disasters, like the finance sector’s highly destructive practices a la 2008, etc., they’re running things. No accountability. They should have got 20 years in jail; they’re still doing dangerous deals with ridiculous levels of credit. Again, see any leadership?
The failures are so systemic they can now be called a science. Every issue, every problem, becomes a job creation for people determined not to solve it. They get paid billions for achieving nothing, and usually doing more damage.
A real science would measure achievement. This science of leadership failure measures lack of achievement, and pays itself more to keep right on failing.
Why the failure of global leadership?
This routine failure to deal with ANY problems is no coincidence. I’m not going to mention the “usual scum” by name. There’s no need. Every failure eventually exposes itself as a failure of intellect as much as a failure of courage or even basic skills. The crashed corporation, the failed state, the symptoms of failure are always the same.
When the truly incompetent are in charge, this is what happens. Leadership is failing because it has incentives to fail. Every pathetic weakling in any sort of leadership role benefits from being the one in charge. Their actual leadership is horrendously ineffectual, but they have the influence. That influence translates in to “success”, like the idiot gambler who loses millions, but is holding everyone else’s money.
Gambling, in fact, is a good analogy. Everyone knows that wins are rare, and most gamblers lose. The psychosis of gambling, much like politics, is based on the theoretical chance of winning and the illusions of winning.
The illusions are deadly. To be appointed Head Idiot is a win. To be in front of cameras is a win. To be in charge of a herd of rich fools is a win. The ego rewards and the inevitable, endless escapes from blame are wins. Failed leadership, lacking real success, has to claim success in these ways.
The gambler is always looking for the big win that will put everything right. In lieu of that, the chance to win is the excuse for more failures and stupid moves. No need for in-depth psychology here; failure supports its own delusions. Therefore, it perpetuates itself.
Leadership can’t be based on failure. Illusions can’t be successes. To progress, achievement, not non-achievement, is required.
The image of power and the exercise of power have very little in common. Any fool can portray the image. Very few have ever exercised power in its greatest form, the power to transform the world. Of those few, some did so despite leadership, rather than because of it.
Since the 19th century, the world has been transformed in the face of ancient tyrannies, mindless hatreds, festering crime, and putrescent people of all kinds. The real leadership came from basic human aspirations, in many cases.
Those aspirations are dangerous things. They sometimes follow aspiring fools, “just do their jobs” in aspiring atrocities, and take Great Leaps Forward in to hellish years of misery.
Many disasters, in fact, are caused by aspirations with no real guidance. The other role of leaders is as guides. Leaders are supposed to understand the risks, know how to dodge them, and look out for dangerous situations.
So failed global leadership means the Great Dung Cart of Humanity isn’t getting steered. It can crash in to anything and everything, and usually does. The aspirations can’t really control anything, just create a direction for movement towards whatever fulfils it, however illusory or downright false.
Historically, some leaders have been actually heroic. Heroism, however, can be a pretty difficult necessity. I think most heroic leaders would agree that:
- Being heroic is all well and good, but it also gets in the way of doing the rest of the job, which is much more mundane and demanding.
- Being heroic and doing something useful are basically the same thing.
- They didn’t intend to be “heroic” as such; they just needed to get a job done.
- They led because they had to; it’s not unusual for previously invisible people to take charge when nobody else will.
- Their view of their own bravery is very different to that of others. Real leadership is done on a very subjective, unavoidably honest, level. Hard work can’t be done on a fictional basis.
- If being heroic meant moving a mountain of shit with a teaspoon to dig people out, they did it. They often did it because nobody else would.
There’s a common factor here – Leaders get on with it. Non-leaders don’t. You don’t actually have to be a hero to lead; you just need to be willing to do the tough jobs, and credible enough to get people to follow you.
Another facet, “inspiration”, is also important. If you can inspire others to lead, you’re a leader of leaders, and useful. In the current totally demotivational circus of non-leadership, that’d be very useful.
Seen anyone inspiring lately? Mediocrity is now the substitute for success. Fools, frauds, and failures are portrayed as leaders. They’re not. The world will have to raise the bar, a lot, to achieve any real leadership.