some thoughts on leadership
This is not really related to any of the recent events but they got me thinking again about this. In the past few years myself and a few friends have once in a while found ourselves in leadership roles for various groups and organizations, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not.
I'm not talking anything big here, just local action teams or other small stuff. Before I was ever involved in any of this I had no idea that there could be a bad side to being a leader. Several problems arise for the leader, especially if the group is political in nature. Here's what I thought of:
1. Followers who are "more loyal than the king." This is a problem because these people are difficult to control and have a tendency to be extremely stubborn. If the leader has a dispute with someone, these people will always take the leader's side no matter what and will keep their position even if the leader concedes or renounces his position. They are virtually immovable. They will also sometimes take extreme or inappropriate actions that the leader does not authorize or advocate and is not even aware of. This is bad because then outsiders will place all blame on the leader even though he or she was opposed to the action.
2. Resignation. It is difficult for the leader to resign even if he is tired and ill from exhaustion. Followers won't accept it, they will continue to pester him with phone calls, e-mails, and other communiques. Even after a formal announcement of resignation this continues and when he attends a meeting or talks to one of the followers, they ask him questions like "Can we do this?" or "how about we do this..". to which the ex-leader can reply "WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME??" which may or may not extinguish the questions.
3. The leader gets blame for all problems and mishaps even if he is not directly responsible, or any more responsible than anybody else inside or outside of the group. Though this may seem obvious to us, it still happens all the time. This also applies to leaders who have resigned.
4. In a democratic organization where decisions are made by a vote, people still look to the leader to make decisions or change policies. They just don't understand that they can vote to change something.
5. Outsider sympathizers who criticize the group with something like "I don't see why you don't do more with the group.. why doesn't the group do this thing four times of a month instead of only once a month." These people are just contrarians who don't understand that if they have just as much power to make this happen as the leader does. There's nothing stopping them but their own apathy or laziness and when this is pointed out to them they usually shutup because their game is over.
I try to keep these things in mind when I think about people in leadership positions... though I don't think any of this really applies to U.S. leaders.
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