We interpret leaders gloriously leading the charge backward today

May 30, 2015 by Joshua
in Leadership, Models, Relationships

Today’s world presents leaders leading a group of people like a king or glorious leader, like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. It inspires people to seek that glorious position where they feel people look up to them.

We misunderstand that view, the more I think about it. When armies went into battle then, the first person charging took the biggest risk. He made himself most vulnerable to attack, risking his life. It made sense for people to see him as a hero. Once he charged into battle, others could follow him, now safer. He supported them.

Today, leaders don’t take much personal risk—certainly not of death or injury, even in the military, all the more the higher their rank. Outside the military, especially business, leaders seem to have lost the idea that the leaders took risk. They just want glory—plus perks, golden parachutes, and the opposite of what past leaders earned their followers’ respect with.

We’ve misinterpreted leadership into seeking glory instead of support. Or at least society has. I can only see someone seeking glory without supporting the people you lead as creating a rift between you and them. If, instead, the people you lead know you will support them, they will tell you what they need to do their jobs better and they’ll want you to help them. You’ll create a team.

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