Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Faux Leading the Faux

Once upon a time, long long ago, the person who had authority in a certain situation generally had responsibility and leadership abilities were measured in terms of discharging one's responsibilities in a reasonable manner. Nowadays, the great myth of leadership is that it can be taught. Usually what happens is that people take nice, likeable young people and train them, probably because the average American thinks he'd prefer a nice, likable leader.

And so what we get are people making rather sophomoric attempts to run programs. Not, of course, programs in the Sunday School sense, but verbal programs- if person x says a, you say b, etc...

Programs make for very stilted conversation, and they may end up causing some offense, especially for those of us who actually tried to follow the logic and felt very silly when we realized there was none.

Why does this approach suck so badly? First, not everything can be acheived through training. Second, a good leader needs, for lack of a better metaphor, a good map. The map must represent the territory pretty accurately, or followers with better maps will soon get tired of the leader leading them down ratholes. In addition, a large feature of the map should be relationships. The leadership training meme seriously messes up the relationship situation because the training model generally takes young people out of place where they have their relationships, trains them in isolation from their relationships, and often sets them down to be leaders where they have no relationships.

No relationships=No responsibilities=No authority=No chance to exhibit leadership.

The conditions described above however, do encourage the use of power without regard to consequences.

No comments: