Thursday, October 14, 2004

Leadership Defined

I'm being naughty and skim-reading again. A bad old habit, but I couldn't resist reading the first few paragraphs of this article, blogging it, and using the blog post as a bookmark. But in the interests of the blog community, I'll comment.

No I won't, I'll just cut and paste. I like this definition of a leader, spiritual or not:

"Leadership is:

A person

Involved in a process

Of influencing and developing a group of people

In order to accomplish a purpose

By means of supernatural power."

Thoughts? Is this Christian article relevant in a secular, pluralistic setting?


At 11:58 PM, Blogger Borscht said...

My amiable kiwi friend -- well, I don't know about the last line there -- but, alas, and shiver me timbers -- I think I know you long enough to say that you know that last line was going to stir the pot a bit -- I mean, what precisely would we consider to be a supernatural power -- and who would be the final arbiter of determining precisely what that is.

In any event -- I like it. The moving people along a path part -- kinds sounds like the description one fine Canadian lad gave many moons ago on the Simon Young site. Whaddya say digger? Sweet as bro.

At 4:05 AM, Blogger M@ said...

Well four out of five ain't bad. :)

Seriously, I know that Simon and I diverge quite strongly in our views, as I understand from his profile that he is Christian; I am not. I just want to put that forward plainly, to ensure that there's no dishonesty about my viewpoint; although I am not religious, I am also not dismissive of religion and I wouldn't dismiss something out of hand just because its source or basis is theistic.

So with that out of the way -- I agree with parts 1-4 absolutely. The difference between leading people and managing things is very important; I know that I use leadership and management almost interchangeably, but the distinction is important. Leaders lead people, full stop.

The fourth point, however, is probably the most important one. Leaders have a purpose. There has been no doubt as to the purpose of the great leaders we've seen in the last century: Churchill, for example, was always certain: the first evil is Nazi Germany, the next evil is Communist Russia. In many ways the cold war's eventual end came from Churchill's insistence that it was a matter of survival for Us or Them. There was no question in the collective western consciousness that the USSR was the major world problem, unlike before and during the war.

The point about process is well-made too. The slight difficulty there, of course, is determining what that process might be... a bit of a trick to that!

As to your final question -- I think we might differ on the ultimate purpose of life on earth, and we might differ on the source or inspiration of leadership in people, but I doubt that we differ much on the practical, earthly value and relevance of good leadership. Gandhi is a good example of how religious inspiration can make positive change in a secular world. Whatever our opinions of his religion, the earthly achievements are undeniable.

Anyhow, a good article.


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