I have a visceral reaction to leadership that has never let me down. It operates on both extremes of the continuum.
It’s no secret that lousy leadership pisses me off; not only because these type of leaders tend to be arrogant dicks, but because they don’t take their responsibility seriously. They have a direct adverse effect on people; and their negligence screws up the careers and aspirations of those who fall under their influence. Either through ignorance or intent, they can be counted on to take advantage of others; feed self-doubt, exploit talent and resources, belittle contributions, withhold basic appreciation, and scoff at common manners and professionalism. They get away with it, why? Because they are good in a specialized field? They can make money or structure deals? The industry-specific skills they possess are baseline requirements, not enormous differentiators for which they should be lauded.
Lousy leaders are easily and quickly identifiable for me. So too, are effective leaders. These people are the opposite, putting others before self, solving problems whether they are affected or not. They praise progress, express love, encourage ideas, share dreams and treat people with dignity. They instinctively express random acts of leadership. It is their lifestyle — their calling, and leaves me in awe; stirred with positive emotion. I hold back tears of joy and shake with excitement, not frustration or anger.
There are many good leaders in all walks of life. Lousy leaders know this and try to keep them in their place with predictable and sad tactics. I work with those who can become great leaders before the lousy leaders grind away their gifts. I don’t always get there in time, and it saddens me deeply. However I too, do my best, don’t give up, and intend to prevail. There will always be lousy leaders, but great leaders can reduce their destructive influence every day.