Friday, July 09, 2010

True Leadership

Around the world last Sunday is marked as July 4th, well, as long as you use the Gregorian calendar.  For the United States it is the celebration of declaring independence from Great Britain.

One of the Articles of Faith that I adhere to is
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

This was the focal point of a lesson someone gave recently and we talked a bit about what it means to obey, honor, and sustain the law.

Its amazing what effect the words we chose have on what others say and what we all think.  Someone slipped in a comment about "leaders".  Nothing outright was said but small feelings I got where the conversation led made me worry a bit for two reasons, 1) what are "leaders", and 2) how we view our "leaders".

For (1), as I quoted previously from Hugh Nibley
Leaders are movers and shakers, original, inventive, unpredictable, imaginative, full of surprises that discomfit the enemy in war and the main office in peace. For managers are safe, conservative, predictable, conforming organization men and team players, dedicated to the establishment.
...
For the manager, on the other hand, the idea of equality is repugnant and indeed counterproductive. Where promotion, perks, privilege, and power are the name of the game, awe and reverence for rank is everything, the inspiration and motivation of all good men.
How many of our representatives, executives, and judges are truly leaders?  Personally, it makes me feel dirty calling them "leaders".

Now for (2) which makes me feel even dirtier.  Reading Thomas Paine's comparison of representative governments to monarchical governments in "Rights of Men" has given me cause to reflect.  When reading how people view and treat the monarchical court's I wonder if in part we carried too much of that tradition with us and if we also in part reverted back to previous bad habits?

The elected and nominated officials are our representatives.  We are the United States government, not those people filled in their buildings in Washington.  They are our employees.  Yes, we would love for them to be leaders for that is what is needed to face the challenges they do.  Yes, we need to sustain them, but not as some lord or duke but as underlings that we are to empower and provide needed support and correction to.

Why is it that we use the Peter Principle and Dilbert Principle in offering "promotions"?

Why is it when we have two underlings vying for a promotion that we view it as a competition between the better of two evils? In business when there is no suitable internal candidate for a position, do we still higher one of the unsuitable ones or do we do take the risk of the unknown and perform an external hire to some third party?

Please note, these observations are mine alone and are not meant to represent any of the people I am quoting