Monthly Archives: September 2010

Leadership Idolatry

Why do you want to be a leader?

There is a big emphasis on being a leader these days, but why? Does the world need more leaders?

It is such a focus with some people, that all they want to have is the authority and, dare I say, the power. What I have seen in many people is a desire for title and position not responsibility.  I would call this “Leadership Idolatry” where the focus of the individual is on power and not on purpose. It is like going to church and worshiping the “music” rather than music being an expression of worship to God.

So, what makes a leader?

A leader is someone who sees a need, has the motivation to do something about it and does it. Sometimes it risks doing it alone; sometimes it means going against the traditions of the incumbent systems; sometimes you will be seen as a troublemaker or an eccentric.

Being a leader starts with just getting involved.

What the world needs is not more leaders but people who are prepared to just get involved. It starts there.

What is your motivation?

Are you motivated by the cause or purpose or by the power or prestige? Be honest.

So should you seek to be a leader or a servant? Most people will answer “a servant” but will be thinking “a leader”.

Is the need or purpose resolved because you have a title? No, it is solved by providing practical assistance.

The bigger the purpose or cause the more coordination and administration is required, and it is there that lies a potential problem. When the focus is on the “office” and not on the “purpose” the vision is lost and  the reason the organisation was established begins to fail. Yet the “office” is often seen to be the organisation.

Yes, there has to be leadership; yes, there has to be administration; yes, there has to be coordination, but these roles should not be the aspirational goals of the organisation.   The goal of the organisation should be on completing its purpose and vision.

Am I saying that there should be no leadership training? No not at all. When there has been an individual who has been identified as a possible leader they should be trained, and trained well. The questions needs to be asked why should a title detract from the task. The role of the leader is to take personal responsibility for everything under their watch. This includes the health and welfare of the people they lead and the completion of the tasks allocated.

So let me ask again…

Why do you want to be a leader?

©Paul S Allen 2010

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