I’ve written and lectured on Leadership for many years. Have read thousands of pages on the subject and studied the philosophers from different periods seeking possible answers to what attributes or life styles contributes to a person attaining high marks as a leader. What comes out of my search, which continues to this day, are the life experiences an individual has and what knowledge they extract from those experiences. In other words, they not only stand on the shoulders of great leaders that have come before them, but themselves have been muddied and bloodied in the process of becoming what they are. None are born leaders, in fact, there are no such people, but only through thought and action (the trials and tribulations they have faced) a few become great leaders. Also, none are self made, but shaped through relationships with others whether brief encounters, even accidental, or lifelong partners.
It is also true that quality leaders teach primarily through being who they are and in the process become students to those they teach. Keep in mind that this relationship and the cross influences are not necessarily formal, but an organic way of relating. This sharing and growing are natural processes we label “mutuality.” It is seen in the trust they demonstrate with knowledgeable people they bring into their Inner Circle. These special people are not ideologues, but people with considerable experience and success in their respective fields. None are puppets to be manipulated, but proven leaders themselves.
The quality leader does not seek extensions of them self, or waste their time forcing agreement. This leader views each person as the unique being they are and as a consequence they participate with them in “genuine dialogue”. And they are not blind to history, but know that what was is yesterday and that “what is” and “to come” is considerably more important. They are an open book and apart from the pages of their own history what is to be written has few if any hidden expectations of themselves or others, but truth, honesty and fairness.
Jose Gasset, (philosopher/professor, Spain 1920s) made the following observation to his students: “Many that live in these days believe the period we live in is more than all the rest that precedes us. And yet, at the same time feels that it is a beginning. Superior to other times, but inferior to itself; strong, indeed and confident and at the same time uncertain of its destiny; proud of its strength and creativity and at the same time fearing it.) I quote Gasset because I strongly agree that the quality leader and “the student to be leader” accept this as truth. That today is full of almost unlimited possibilities and the leaders of this day and time are given the responsibility as none before have been given. We live in a time where leadership is becoming more important than ever before. Previously we believed we lived in separate lands divided by large rivers, mountains, deserts, jungles, oceans and that nations could stand alone. We know today that this is all history long gone. Now most of us accept that we live together on a small planet, limited resources, exploding population, degrading environment and science that has proven that we are all, black, white and others brothers and sisters. We are relatives one to each and all. If True, why is hate so prevalent? We would think that most of us know or have learned that we either live and to live well together, or the alternative which must be unacceptable to all, but sadly is not. And that is the destruction of our home we call Planet Earth, but certainly civilization as we know it. Our time, as no other time, calls for Enlightened Leadership and the question: Where Art Thou?