Tuesday, March 31, 2009
“Leaders are not born but made,” proclaims an ancient truth. Since leaders do not emerge fully-grown out of laboratory vats, they have humanity, style and personality customized over time by several values commonly associated with leadership. Whether deemed good or bad, leaders are generally perceived to be—in varying degrees—intelligent, energetic, power- and achievement-driven, decisive, skillful and determined.
Characteristically, a good leader motivates his followers to collaborate and is capable of catalyzing the organization. Using his vision and mission as compass, he directs his workers toward fulfilling goals. Also, he cherishes honesty, optimism, and competence and inspires his followers to nurture the same ingredients. One leader, the recently demised Pope John Paul II, shepherded the Catholic flock with enthusiastic faith, inspiring Christians around the globe to uphold Godliness despite blows of New Age cults, religious cynicism and other social ills.
On the other hand, it is not far-fetched that a good leader has his exact opposite: the bad leader. The latter is almost always depicted as incompetent, corrupt, position tripping and power-hungry. One such example, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, whipped his followers into ethnic frenzy and promoted Aryan supremacy at the expense of Holocaust victims, mostly Jews. His bad leadership intoxicated by excessive power marred world unity through Hitler’s self-serving racist motives.
Because of varying degrees of human composition, leaders across geographical, historical and cultural milieus differ too. However, the margin separating good and bad leaders dissolves in the abovementioned skills possessed by both, only that the good ones are better disposed in most sets, say, in communication and decision-making. When, where, and how errors sink in—these are the questions good leaders are better equipped in answering than bad ones.
In business and society, bad leaders may be spliced to give way to good ones by eradicating bad followership. As it is, both leaders and followers take responsibility into account. One way of lessening bad leadership in order to strengthen good leadership is limiting leaders’ tenure. If leaders are Machiavellian, they tend to harbor unproductive attitudes like complacency, denial of reality, moral erosion and grandiosity. Another is decentralizing power to maximize its use and to lend importance on delegation and cooperation. Another is having a balanced lifestyle and a firm control over success, power, money and the like—leaders should neither be alcoholic nor given to excesses, for instance.
As a follower, I tend to render every work-related thing jeopardized if I submit to a bad leader. By becoming bad, my manager has lost his moral ascendancy to lead me and the rest of my colleagues, not if he proves good. Citing that obedience my manager is imperative, I must beware of the negative consequences of abiding his directives and must relish the prospect of his instructions’ good reward. I will understand that my leader has expertise power, and his knowledge and skill merit my taking his advice. Furthermore, my manager has the traits I desire to have, so I am bent on supporting him if only to know more this person. For me or anyone not to be harassed or unjustly fired, a periodic leadership evaluation should be effected to make check and balance of my superior’s work attitudes. It helps that my leader, as he exercises tolerable amount of power in accomplishing company goals, remains humanly wise and inspirational. Cognizant of his flaws, my leader should be capable of managing his shortcomings so the whole workforce will achieve fullness. After all, a manager is not always right or wrong but is always able to adopt the accurate strategy given certain circumstances.