WHY DO WE HAVE LEADERS?
Such a silly question! Why, isn’t it obvious? They show us what to do. Without them, we would be lost, like the proverbial shepherd and his flock. Society could not function correctly. Since we depend on capitalistic enterprise, we need leaders to show us the way so that we can collectively continue to live and provide for our families. We also depend on republican government, needing leaders there to make wise decisions so that we may pursue our lives, liberty, and happiness.
In truth though, we count on our leaders to give us something more than just vision and intelligence. Otherwise, we could just go back to subsistence agriculture or hunting and gathering on our own.
And a few of us are about ready to do just that.
I recently read an article that hits this topic on the head at Switch and Shift; about how leaders should make society better. While reading, I’m thinking to myself, “Yes, yes! This is what they’re supposed to do!”
This post, by William Powell, talks about the power all leaders have to make a better society by treating their employees in such a way that they can maintain their self-respect, self-worth, good attitude, etc. These employees can then, in turn, contribute to society, their families, or other organizations in a much more positive manner.
It’s really too bad that leaders aren’t using this power.
Okay, some of us do (I don’t mean to be totally negative). But, unless you haven’t had an internet connection in the past couple of years, you’ve read about how half of us are ready to quit our jobs because we do not work in that type of environment where we do feel good at the end of the day. So let’s just take a quick poll: Are you ready to quit your job, and/or intensely dislike your boss?
The fact that you’re still reading indicates (1) that you raised your hand, or (2) that you’re not one of those bosses. So, let me tell you something you probably haven’t thought about to this point:
You’re likely working for the people who have already stopped reading (or will never read such an article as this one or the one by Mr. Powell).
They don’t care, and they never will. You see, it’s all about them – not about all of us together. It’s about their golden parachute, their position in the organization, their alpha-ness, their ego.
So what do we do about it? Here are some humble suggestions, and I would appreciate more:
1. Start your own organization to help people. Provide a worthy service. Treat your employees well. Destroy the competition that does not. Success is the best revenge.
2. Boycott the businesses that do not truly help society; the ones run by managers who treat their employees and/or customers like crap. If your friend complains about her employer, tell her that you’re not going to buy from, or support in any other way, that business anymore. Tell your friend to quit as soon as she can. And spread the word.
3. If you’re in charge of one of these people, ask – demand – that they change their ways. If they don’t, show them the door. After all, the people under that person’s management work for you, too.
If you are still reading this article and are a leader of people, thank you (from all of us). Please continue reading starting with this excerpt from Powell’s article, Organizational Leadership and a Better Society:
“As organizational leaders, we have an amazing opportunity. We can positively influence the experience people have in doing what we collectively call ‘life’. We spend over 60% of our waking hours at work. Of course this atmosphere influences how we interact with everything outside of work. Sure there are exceptions, but we can’t abdicate our leadership responsibility and hang it on the behavior of a few exceptions.”
In other words, be a real leader. You can truly make a difference in society in your own small way.
I can’t let this post end without mentioning the namesake for this blog. Abraham Lincoln was the epitome of a leader, and if any of us need help in our quest to become a better one, we need to look at some of things he did for his employees beyond saving our nation and ending slavery. From the Secretary of State down to the lowest Army private, Lincoln’s people:
- Never had to guess why they did what they did. They always knew the mission.
- Laughed with him (if they had a sense of humor).
- Were never subjected to cruelty by Lincoln.
- Were led by a learner who could make informed, wise decisions.
- Were protected by Lincoln.
- Could communicate well with Lincoln and vice versa.
- Were given what they needed to succeed.
- Were encouraged by him to help compensate for his shortcomings.
- Were motivated without being threatened.
- Could trust their boss to remain focused on the goal without compromising his integrity.
You don’t have to be Lincoln to make society better. But imagine what the world would be like if we all worked for little Lincolns.
It sounds to me like happiness.