What Is Leadership, Really?

I recently got into a disagreement with an acquaintance.   We were discussing politics (I know, politics and religion, etc.) and he was complaining how Obama was a ****-poor leader, basically.  

I expressed the opinion that if he would get support from Congress, maybe he would be able to accomplish something.  Basically, I was trying to say, not in so many words, that part of Congress are being ********, and refusing to do anything the President suggests, simply because he's a Democrat, or because he's black, or because they're scared to death they won't get re-elected, you name it.  Anyway, they won't play.  

His sole reaction for the rest of the conversation, no matter how I tried to explain my point, was; "Leaders get things done."  and "A position of responsibility is not the same as leadership."

Duh, you think?

The man is in office for at least four years, he was voted in, he now has the full authority and responsibility of the Presidency.  But if the people won't follow, how in the **** do you expect him to be able to lead?  

I explained how the "death for mutiny" regulations are still in effect for the Navy.  Also, how many thousands of sailors are kicked out every year, who refuse to conform.   Can you seriously blame every sailor's chain-of-command, because the sailor was a childish, irresponsible *****, and broke his oath to follow the orders of the officers appointed over him?  Really?

No change, the argument persisted that "Leaders get things done."  

Obviously, this fellow has had absolutely no experience as a leader.  Take it from me, those chevrons on your sleeve don't mean ****, when the little ***** working for you gets out of work, just because she has ****.  Where's the leadership then?  Down the ******* drain.  (Oh, yes, the ***** in question got out of work by the grace of the higher brass, and this happens in most commands)

I've been the man in charge, I've been the man taking orders.  Guess what?  I've always done my damndest to support the person I work for, to support the chain of command, because that's the only way it works.   I've received multiple awards for my leadership, but I damn well know that it was only because the people below me were supporting me, not because of any magical quality I had.  I've also had people under me, who fought me tooth and nail, they seemed to think that I was incompetent, because I didn't enter the office wielding a whip and screaming orders every morning.    Now you tell me, who is the better sailor, the one who takes the job and runs with it, or the one who needs to have orders barked at him?

What's that called?  Followership.  You never hear that word, do you?  Hmm... why not?  Good question.  Maybe it's because if you emphasized followership to the lowly enlisted service members, you'd be reminding them that they are subservient, and that's just not sexy.  And if you keep pounding the 'leadership' drum, they can hold their head high, and feel as though they are accomplishing something, even if they only have one other working for them...

I brought that up, during "Leadership Training".  I declared that if Followership was taught, we'd have a hell of a lot less problems with leadership, in the military.  My goodness, you should have seen the looks I got from the rest of the class; you'd have thought I said that I like frying up puppies for lunch.  The instructor, however, agreed with me entirely.  They just aren't allowed to deviate from the curriculum that they facilitate.  

Our Oath of Enlistment doesn't say a damn thing about leadership.  It does however say that we will "follow the orders of the officers appointed over me".

I guess when things all go downhill, we can just blame leadership, right?  Not our selfish, greedy, self-centered refusal to work together, and treat each other like humans.   Studies have proven that if the department heads onboard a ship will simply work together, everything will work more efficiently, and the mission will have more chances of success.  But, over and over, the egos get in the way, and they refuse to work together, thus screwing everybody.  

The ecology has huge man-made problems, due to greed, etc.  Blame leadership, not the millions of homeowners who insist on having a green lawn, the pig farmers, chicken farmers, etc, who dump their refuse in the water...  it goes on and on, and on.

The educational system is in shambles, according to one study, about 30 percent of college graduates are able to read the editorial page of a newspaper well enough to be able to discuss it with you.   Blame it on leadership, not the teachers, schools, and families who won't stand up for themselves, and do it right.

How many more things can you think of, in our world, that are going to hell in a handbasket, due to greed, conceit, etc?

We can't blame everything on leadership, especially if they're not getting the support they need to do the job right.  

A few years ago, the upper chain of command onboard the USS John F. Kennedy were all fired, when it was determined that the ship was not able to complete her mission, due to failing systems.  The catapults and arresting gear didn't work, etc.   Guess what?  The various captains, over the decades, had been crying for money to keep their ship up to standards.  They never got it.  The ship never once completed a full overhaul that every carrier needs.  Blame who you like, the Pentagon or Congress, but they never got the money.  And they lost their careers over it.  That isn't a failure of the ship's leadership, that's a lack of support.  Yes, I know, it's a failure of leadership in the Pentagon, or Congress, whoever refused to fund the ship's upkeep, but who paid the price?  

So, anyway, the disagreement ended up with both of us pissed.  He refused to pay attention to anything I would say, and parroted the same thing over and over; "Leaders get things done".  

I pointed out that he was essentially closed-minded, dogmatic, a true Right Wing Authoritarian.  In other words, one who worships authority, simply because they're in authority.  (In case you're not sure, he's following Republican leadership!)  

Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line.  (now who is the sheep there?)

And by worship, I mean they expect the world from their Gods, and when the Gods don't deliver, they get upset.

From what I recall, at one point in the Jews' history, they called out to God for a King.  God told them they didn't need one, they had him.  The Jews insisted that they really did need a king, so God relented, and gave them one.  How well did that work out?  Not so great.  

Anyway, that's my rant, think for yourself, do what is best for yourself and yours.  











rattlecage rattlecage
1 Response Mar 9, 2010

Our motorcycle riders group had a meeting the other night. The leader of the group surprised me by saying something I never expected to come out of someone else's mouth. <br />
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Our leader is in his sixties, an admirable man who dedicates a lot of his time to charitable efforts, raising money for veterans and their families. That is the major reason for our riders club, and he is a significant driver in this, with a large circle of contacts and a surprising amount of energy for someone his age.<br />
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He said "I don't believe in leadership. I believe in service." <br />
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Thank you very much, for saying what I've been trying to put into words for a long time. <br />
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He went on to say that we are all in the position to serve others, this isn't about leadership, it's about doing for others.