Leadership 2012: Leadership Standing Trial

Leadership Judgement

Dateline: Den Haag 24th January 2012, L2L Press

The International Court of Justice in The Hague, The Netherlands, was caught off guard when the prosecution presented their next case yesterday. Not another commander of war was standing trial but an idea, a concept: Leadership.

At the first hearing the defendant’s seat remained empty while its lawyers were witness to the charges presented by the prosecution. The prosecution is basing its case on violation of Human Rights, with a special focus on the following articles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 1:

All men are born free and equal… they should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.’ The prosecution states that our Leadership bases its functionality on top-down command, which bypasses equality. It also challenges the spirit of brotherhood in which Leadership interacts. Its traditional vertical structures seem to infuse conditions to the unconditional respect that is ingrained within a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2:

‘Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedom… without distinction of any kind, such as… status…’ The Court is promised evidence showing how Leadership links rights to status. Cases of corporate leaders claiming disproportional bonuses and of religious leaders’ entitlement to certain sexual rights, will be put forward.

Article 4:

‘No one shall be held in slavery or servitude…’ The prosecution questions our suggested freedom of choice in Leadership’s traditional structures and therefore assumes a certain form of servitude:

a)   Resigning before the end of a contract can cost income and leave a stain on an employee’s resume. These consequences are strong means of persuasion to keep people locked into their job.

b)   When an organisation hires a person for a ‘leadership’ position, the other employees have to bear the consequences of the appointment. They are put in a ‘take-it-or-leave-it-position’ within the newly established hierarchy.

Article 19:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference…’ According to the prosecution, Leadership attributes more weight to the opinion of someone in a ‘higher’ position within the system’s structure. This eradicates the right of opinion or freedom of speech of anyone who is lower ranked.

Article 23.2:

‘… Everyone has the right to equal pay for equal work.’ Leadership is being charged with cultural conditioning of the belief that a higher position should come with higher income. The prosecution suggests that the automatic connection between position, responsibilities and reward is non-sustainable.

Official Proceedings

The defendant’s lawyers (P. Olitics, E. Conomics and C. Ulture) have stated to the press that their client is going to plea ‘not guilty’ to all of the charges.

Their press release states that Leadership is considering suing the prosecution for damages as a result of loss of status, authority and control.

The Leadership Lobby

A spokesman of the new Leadingship Lobby was present at the first hearing. His comments: ‘I’m glad to see that our society is moving towards a healthier future. This court case could be a shift towards more sustainable way of working and living together. Me-telling-you-what-to-do has been regarded an indispensable element to our social structures for centuries.

It has gone hand-in-hand with ranking, responsibility, higher pay grade and discrimination based on professional or cultural background.

It’s true: recently there’s been a growing realization that blaring orders from a ‘higher’ position is passé and that something like servant or charismatic leadership could match our time better.

But no one seems to have noticed the arrogance accompanying this new leadership face.

It is make-up to hide the ugly truth: we still consider it a necessity that some people have to “influence” others that are working “for” them. It proves how we accept manipulation used by some to move others towards their needs. And even in this kind of “innovative leadership,” employees can be exit when they refuse to be influenced.

This threat of ramifications to empower the established leadership dynamic is exactly what is on trial here.

I hope that people wake up to the potential paradigm shift. This is a real chance for non-personal dynamics of inspiration to take Leadership’s place. The ever flexible and natural interactions of leading and following – which we call Leadingship – maximizes the use and potential of all human capital and respects human rights.’

Guilty or Not?

Should the court find Leadership guilty on just one of the many charges, Leadership will be serving a lifelong sentence. This could mean that new alternatives such as Leadingship can expand their territory.

The prosecution has emphasized the urgency of this case due to the worldwide financial, political and social circumstances. The International Court of Justice is expected to pass sentence the end of this month.

What are your thoughts? Is Leadership guilty? Please submit any opinion or response in a letter to the editor.


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Arnold Timmerman is Author and Founder of Truth Unmlimited
He provides “Leadingship” training & coaching throughout all organizational levels
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2 responses to “Leadership 2012: Leadership Standing Trial

  1. Unfortunately, guilty. Not unfortunate for the leader, but Unfortunate for the followers. The followers could be the employees, the clients, the vendors, the invenstors, or anyone with a vested interest in the success of the organization, and ultimately the fortitude and success of the leader. It starts with character and values (or the lack thereof), and continues through inspired leadership that drives the group to greater success. Unfortuntately, when the leader looks down from their perch, they don’t see the people who have a vested interest in the success of the organization. Rather, they only sees themselves, as though his perch sits on a mirror. “What am I doing for ME.”

    But, the sentence imposed shouldn’t be life, or banished from the future of organizational development. Leadership is, I believe, being rehabilitated to become more servant-oriented. The findings of empowerment, and the success of leader to leader (rather than leader to follower) is the shift in the paradigm that is both necessary and apparent.


  2. A nice piece of writing thank you for the learnings. A very cool way to present a serious issue in a clever, creative and thought provoking style. I say guilty the only caveat being that the list of wrong doings against people are much wider and deeper. Of course, you could make the case that Leadership has been hijacked by misguided executives who consistently violate Drucker’s essential ethical rule of our profession: Primum non nocere , “above all not knowingly to do harm.”

    We might even say that “by learning to pretend today’s leaders have become the characters they are miscast to be” in their organizational roles. Regardless the consequences of command /control, neurotic leadership, power/fear based leadership, entitlement based leadership among other egocentric leadership designs continue to do great harm to their organizations and negatively affect the health (physical and psychological), ambitions, opportunities for growth and the work and private lives of the workers . Would the poseurs please step forward to receive your sentence…


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