The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. —Max DePree
During these times when the images of the horrors of war are constantly troubling our senses, it is so important to remain grounded. Every major crisis at the same time offers opportunities for realignment and change.
What we are seeing before our eyes is a vivid display of two different styles of leadership: One is that which galvanizes forces into positive action and service for the common good. The other is impervious to empathy, rooted in self-aggrandizement and intrinsically destructive.
Evil eventually destroys itself
Malignant narcissists, psychopaths, and highly egotistical individuals are inevitably drawn to leadership positions where they have unhinged control over large groups of people whom they can subjugate and bully into submission. They surround themselves with sycophants because they can’t bear criticism from others questioning their decision-making or authority.
Such authoritarian leaders, who eventually convince themselves that they have been elevated to God-like status by destiny, eventually ruin themselves and the companies, institutions, or nations that they have taken charge of. For, deep inside during those lonely hours at night they are haunted by their own insecurities, fears, and paranoia.
Unsurprisingly everyone that doesn’t toe their line is deemed as the enemy. Those who believe, think, and act differently are seen as enemies, foes, and competitors that need to be destroyed. The first stage is dehumanization by language followed by ever more evil acts of bullying and physical aggression. They ultimately leave a terrain of scorched earth if it serves their own purpose.
Good leadership is one of service
In contrast, the visionary leader sees his or her role primarily in that of service to others. They prioritize the self-development of others in their institution, team, or country. They are constantly aware of their own shortcomings and thus able to delegate, train and transmute their own shadows. Primarily they have the ability to listen, accept advice, admit mistakes, and correct them. They are in acceptance of one of the principles of creation – the chaotic diversity of life, ideas, and cultures.
Authoritarian leadership is inevitably doomed to failure because the imposition of an individual belief or will is anathema to the chaotic and diverse beauty that calls itself life.
The French poet and novelist Victor Hugo first coined the phrase: “Nothing else in the world…not all the armies…is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”
Around the globe, we are seeing a collective uprising of millions of people marching on the streets for peace, humanity, democracy, freedom of speech, sovereignty, and simply the right to live the life we are meant to live.
Good leadership as opposed to bad leadership serves the truth and never its own version of reality. During a time where truth becomes blurred by falsity we need wise leadership based on the intrinsic values of a common humanity.
Without fear, no courage. Faith overcomes fear and hope springs eternal. A vision that is of service empowers, strengthens, encourages, and instills peace and joy.
Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker
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