Is it just me, or has “leadership” become a laughable offense you tag onto someone when you want to engage in a playful throw-down? With all the uncorrected and ongoing bad behaviors we have seen in the last decade, and so many ongoing issues we have with current leaders… can ANY of us actually take the word “leadership” or “leader” seriously anymore?
Two weeks ago I was hanging with a group of friends and I found myself– ME, the lover and life-learner of leadership– say, “oh… that was soooo leader-like of you,” to which my friend replied, “ugh, as if anyone really knows what being a leader means anymore.”
Forks clanked, jaws dropped. The needle scratched on the record as the music stopped, and our little cafe went silent. You could hear the distant flapping wings of the Happy Bird making its symbolic exit.
I was teasing. He wasn’t. (And he was right.)
Soon another friend brought in, “but we always have Congress!” And we all laughed at the thought of our politicians these days, which merrily went into the fact that Christmas decorations are already out in the stores even though Halloween hasn’t happened yet. The music started again. Forks went back to the food, and our Happy Bird perched itself back onto the proverbial Tree of Happiness. The worlds were re-aligned and the circus music played on. Meanwhile, the voices dropped back and faded as things grew dark, and my mind’s spotlight cast its strong light upon my visage. It was too late for me.
Oh, I smiled on, pretending to be fully engaged in the conversations taking place, making my quips about The Rachel Zoe Project and whether she’s going to make it through expanding her business, but the gears in my mind had already started moving and the “machine” (as I affectionately call my brain) began to kick up the RPMs in search of truth… my truth.
Maybe I had it all wrong.
Maybe it’s true that “leadership” is no longer an exclusive club for people who deserve the title, and we shouldn’t take it seriously anymore. Maybe “leadership” isn’t bestowed on people anymore, but is instead taken by those who want more (nothing specific… just… MORE). Maybe the term “leader” has become the title everyone has if you lead something, just like how the term “VP” has become the title everyone has in the Financial Services industry (ever notice that?).
Maybe, just maybe, my dramatic truth of leadership, personalized and cultivated since I could read Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop… maybe it was just my own fantastic idolism that I needed to believe in in order to think that a select few could harbor such an important and characteristically steadfast title. (cue music)
OK stop the music, it wasn’t THAT dramatic, but come on, who’s with me? Admit it, don’t you feel that the term “leadership” has been applied to so many and in so many instances that it hardly warrants any affect anymore?
I carried my little funk around for two weeks as I thought about how I could turn things around for me. I looked up Time Magazine’s “Who Were History’s Great Leaders” article. I Googled “The Philosophy of Leadership“. I looked to the oldest civilizations in the east and in Europe, and even looked to some of our own in the Americas (North, Central, and South). I found nothing that got me back to thinking about leadership before I used it as an insult, or before my friend countered me with a fabulous truth that’s been staring us all down:
Who really takes leadership seriously these days?
I was beginning to lose perspective on why leadership is so important because, quite frankly, if I bumped into any one of the proclaimed “leaders” of today, the only response I could possibly have would be “I’m just not that into you.”
Is it just me?
How do you feel about the “leaders” that are around you? Do you give them the esteem that a good, or great leader might deserve? Or are the so-called leaders around you really nothing more than low-end figureheads who do nothing outside of self? How do you feel on this subject? I would love to hear your voice on this!
Christa (Centola) Dhimo, President & Founder, via Best Practices.
She can be reached at email@example.com
Image Source: dinfos.osd.mil,