Sunday, May 18, 2008

Leadership Qualities

These days everybody wants thinks they or their children need to be a leader to get ahead in life. And 'to get ahead in life' is usually measured in terms of income earning ability, not in terms of personal self development or a wide, mature and wise view of the world. If only life were so simplistic. But since people live in hope - they hope for the simplistic and so it is not uncommon to see 'leadership courses' for 10 year olds with words written inside an explosive word balloon promising 'Straight A's', 'CEO Position In the Future', 'Possible High Earnings in the Future'. They promise everything except Einstein like genius and Ron Jeremy like sexual abilities (and maybe penis) but I think they just haven't figured out how to work that angle. So you'll probably hear crap like that in 2 to 3 years (unless they get the whole penis angle going earlier).

This thinking is not just simplistic, it goes beyond, all the way deep into the realm of the stupid. Firstly, leaders need not be the smartest men or women in the room. Intelligence is not the only thing that makes a leader although a reasonable amount of this quality is important and encouraged. Hitler was not the brightest chap in the Nazi regime but he certainly was the most powerfully charismatic and psychotic of the lot, but he was a leader because he could lead. He led a nation into the second World War against other countries. He could command the confidence, minds and hearts of millions who hung on his every word like Jenna Jameson hangs on Mason's turgid and hard cock in Jenna's Playhouse.

This brings me to my next point. A leader is first and foremost someone who people tend to follow naturally or is able to command a following from people. He must have that undefinable quality of having people want to know what he thinks or does. And for that reason I think charisma to be the far greater and important quality to have as a leader. If people don't want to hear, see or be with you then there's no way you can utilize any of the other important skills as a leader such as intelligence, maturity, decisiveness, initiative and some outrageous fallibility or poor quality that always threatens to overshadow and wipe out his other good qualities in the realm of public opinion.

And this is why I think those leadership classes or seminars or little tuition groups that give leadership lessons to be full of leadershit and just a waste of time and money. You just cannot 'teach' either children or adults how to be a leader because charisma is natural. Sure you can work at it, make yourself look better, lose some weight, take elocution classes, completely slaughter the lambs at a Toastmasters dinner (hah!) and be a CEO of a company but you will never, ever have the gravitas, effect and power of natural charisma. To better explain this let's turn to the world of golf. Now there are a lot of good players out there - some with bags of natural talent and some who didn't have talent but worked very hard at it and came out on top. But none of them can match the sheer ability of Tiger Woods, God of Golf, whose natural talents alone outclass almost 70% of the field (his training eliminates the other 29%, that 1% is bad luck or bad tournament). No matter how hard you train, you will never beat him one on one when both of you are at your peak, because your peak is only half way up his peak. Puns are intended unless advised otherwise. That's how it is with natural charisma and cultured charisma, but with this difference: just because you do all those things, it does not necessarily mean that your efforts aggregate towards success.

And this is the other thing - not everybody can be a leader and I don't think everybody's supposed to be one. If everybody was a leader and busy giving orders, who's gonna do them? And leaders best quality is just that - leading people. Their other skills tend to pale into comparison with this one. So though leaders are the most visible point of focus for media and the public perception, there are others that 'make' the leader - his advisor, his lawyer, his public relations officer, etc, the waiters, waitresses, the trash collectors, right down to the janitor that keeps histoilets clean (thank you so much good sir and madam or miss! I want you to know I appreciate you!). Alexander the Great would not have been great if he did not have good and dependable generals and soldiers, in fact he would be Alexander the Dead.

Finally, J. Paul Getty in his terribly readable and interesting instruction cum biography 'How to be Rich' talks about what a leader is from a business perspective which I think to be of general application: 'The successful businessman is a leader - who solicits opinion and advice from his subordinates, but makes the final decisions, gives the orders and assumes the responsibility for whatever happens.' And this is not the kind of leadership you see much of in Malaysia. Making the decisions and taking responsibility for it. There are a lot of pretenders around here. Alot of the so called leaders you see around here take the consensus based approach to decision making.

You can guess by now that I'm the type who thinks this 'consensus based decision making' to be a lot of nonsense (this is as polite as I can be to describing just what I think about it without using a whole jizzload of four and several six and seven letter words that would make even Pedro's grandmother's blush [he's some Colombian 23 year old plumber I never met and admit I am taking improper liberties with him and especially his grandmother]). Whazzat mean? To me, how I see it is that the leader now just turns into a manifestation or mouthpiece of that collective consensus. So he is like a speaker phone, merely a conduit. And a conduit certainly cannot lead people much less find its own arsehole, so a leader who takes that kind of approach is a leader in the fake sense of the word.

If it's so obvious Mr. Daef, why do they do this? Well you snotting little piece of shit to ask, because these fakers have what all politicians always need - someone to blame. And that in politics is priceless. So since whatever cock decision was done consensus based the faker can now place blame on everybody and claim that since they were only translating the will of the majority, they cannot be at fault and therefore have to resign or sacked. Ducking the bullet they are supposed to take. That is what passes off for leadership around here these days.

And that is all I have to say about that today.

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