Synthesis about leadership

Thank you Christer Hellberg for sharing your tracks!

Shared tracks

Peter Senge on Leadership

Peter Senge refers to this excellent definition around leadership:

“The capacity of a human community to shape it’s future.”

The Global Community

Many things comes to mind after seeing that Peter Senge-video as always. That Gandhi quote.. which I can’t seem to find now… in fact I find around 10 others just as good.

But it was on the “global community” and leadership. Imagine one man alone made change, oh sorry, it really happened. One man did it with his idea and his own energy and principles. Of course the time for the idea maybe had come and was supported by millions, but before he came into “action” sort of the task was seen as impossible.

Oh yeah, and “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” And “Be the change you want to see in the world” of…

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7 thoughts on “Synthesis about leadership

  1. Whenever I hear any remarks in praise of leadership, I wonder what the world will have to endure to overthrow yet another tyrant, for, as George Bernard Shaw pointed in the preface to the Millionairess, “leader” is just another name for tyrant.

  2. Good point, good quote, but … I disagree, since your point is just one partial aspect of that broad concept and phenomenon of leadership.

    First a pro concerning your argument: Yes, there is a history of terrible abuse of power – think of millions following the “bad leader” like robots – e.g. Hitler. Stalin, Mao. This is what we call “blind followership”. Why are people so inclined to “follow” isntead of acting self-responsible?

    Tyranny could be conceived as the degenerated form of leadership – but actually it is not even that. Just follow the standard defintion of
    Leadership has been described as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”

    Well, the tyrannt is _forcing_ people to do soemthing with threat and terror – and he actually does since his influence is not high enough to be _convincing_.


  3. I guess I fear the “good” leader even more than the wielder of naked force. More people have been enthralled by charisma than by brutality. The point is that they give up their best interests voluntarily. Does that sound familiar?

  4. Yes, sounds familiar – Sapere Aude! – there is the explicit striving for autonomy since the era of enlightenment, as every school kid knows. One of the best characterisations here:

    What is Enlightenment? (Immanuel Kant, 1784)

    Enlightenment is man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one’s intelligence without the guidance of another.

    There will always be some people who think for themselves, even among the self-appointed guardians of the great mass who, after having thrown off the yoke of immaturity themselves, will spread about them the spirit of a reasonable estimate of their own value and of the need for every man to think for himself.
    Enlightenment is man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one’s intelligence without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused if it is not caused by lack of intelligence, but by lack of determination and courage to use one’s intelligence without being guided by another. Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own intelligence! is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.

    Through laziness and cowardice a large part of mankind, even after nature has freed them from alien guidance, gladly remain immature. It is because of laziness and cowardice that it is so easy for others to usurp the role of guardians. It is so comfortable to be a minor! …

    But nobody is omnipotent and an expert in all fields. When you make a trip into the jungle, into some unknown territory, with dozens of life threats and some experienced and _trusworthy_ person offers help to go first in the group then this is an uncontroversial model of some leadership. Nobody recommends to have a leader when you leave the flat just to go to the supermarket. And yes, we should always first encourage ourselves (and others) to appreciate our competencies – e.g. see Kant above.

    Irony (if you allow) – your website contains many texts arguing to convince readers of your perspective, for me it looks like much more ambition for leadership than I did expect reading your comment. I have no problem with that. /willi

    1. You are very perceptive. I *did* have a problem with my own personal ambition for recognition if not leadership. I believe most of the pieces that took over a year to write turned out to be exercises to convince myself, which doesn’t help much to make them accessible or attractive to others.

      1. Often in a first stage we write something to understand ourselves – then in a second stage there is a re-writing, which is directed to the communication with others. So, your work is not lost, if it is not “accessible or attractive to others” – it is just the first stage and another process starts. /willi

  5. Followership seems to be where we spend most of our time. Leadership strikes me as ultimately delusional. Undoing followership seems like a worthy pastime. Thanks, a fun discussion. Very much enjoyed following it. (BTW, these RSA illustrations are priceless. They’re a phenomenal way to incorporate the whole brain.

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