Why are leaders so poor?
One logical conclusion to modern western culture's peculiar obsession with individuality is the industry for teaching leadership to people in leadership roles. A quick browse of the business section of any bookstore reveals a huge number of volumes about leadership and management.
One reason for this is the huge number of managers who have neither training nor experience in managing people. Often a few years of success at some other role (such as a corporate lawyer) or, worse, a graduate degree in some fashionable discipline (such as engineering) supposedly qualifies a person for a management role. Of course, this is neither logical nor practical, but the solution most organizations seem to take is to attack the symptoms (our leaders are of poor quality) rather than the cause (we choose or prepare our leaders poorly).
An important component of the whole problem, though, is that we have far too many leaders, and hold them in far too high esteem. As a result, we have lost sight of the crucial other side of the equation -- the followers.
I'm not advocating blind, sheep-like devotion to leaders, but it's worth recognizing and rewarding followers who make leading easier. They are an important component of good leadership, and are the source of the positive feedback loop that exists for a team that is profoundly in synch.
The other side of the problem, of course, is that it's a lot easier to sell a book to someone by telling them that they could be a great leader than it is by telling them they could be a great follower. I probably shouldn't be as surprised as I am.