Rebuilding Society: Leadership

This is my second journal entry on skills that I feel will be essential to rebuild society. This time I’m choosing to to focus on leadership. All throughout history great leaders have appeared to usher in the next era of human civilization. Now I am not going to get into a debate of the best type of leader, good, bad, benevolent or whatever. How history judges these leaders is irrelevant (well not really, just not what this entry is about). I’m focusing on what makes someone good at leading, not if the results of their leadership was good.

Anyone can be in charge through firepower, but in the long run spending so much time, effort and resources on suppression of the population is not sustainable. Eventually resources will need to be diverted towards an external threat and control will be lost. So firepower alone isn’t enough.

Every good leader, has the ability to inspire people. When people are inspired, they are not only more likely to follow, but many of them will need to follow on a deeply personal level. To see how far this can go, look at Hitler’s rise to power. I hesitate to even bring Hitler’s name up as it is so polarizing. Remember I am talking about people who were good at leading populations, not good people who led populations. Also, without getting into a WWII history, part of Hitler’s decline happened when he stopped engaging the people and withdrew. In other words when he stopped leading was the beginning of the end for him. Say what you will about the man, and all the horrible things he did and were done in his name, I probably agree with you. He was however a good leader. He had an idea and convinced millions of people to follow him and do his bidding and that is the essence of leadership. Please don’t read what I’m saying as support for what he did, I’m just acknowledging, what he did well and his ability to lead so successfully was part of why Nazism was so dangerous.

Now I must say I am not suggesting that another Hitler would be good for rebuilding society. The complete lack of morality makes it a bad idea. There are many other leaders who had much better morale codes and in my opinion were much better leaders.
Let’s look at the same war, but this time Winston Churchill. Through his words, and actions he helped stabilize a country that could have fell apart. He helped calm a would be panicked population, people felt better that he was running the country. He was the right man for the job.

Now I could go on, history is full of leaders and nation builders and everyone of them could be examined as examples of good leaders. But this article is about rebuilding society after a collapse. The people will be afraid, most will be unprepared and many will be looking for someone to fall in behind. Someone will take control, someone always does. I’m suggesting that a leader who can inspire people to follow him will have a more stable situation. When the people want to follow you almost anything can be done, and wouldn’t that be essential for rebuilding?

2 thoughts on “Rebuilding Society: Leadership

  1. Your article brings to mind a conference I attended years ago. Walking away from it, I thought a lot about what makes people follow someone. I came to believe that, in just about every case, it is because the follower believes he can get something he needs: security, prosperity, power, the achievement of a common goal (or the corporate pursuit of it)…. The leader needs to inspire, provide hope and direction, and sell his ideas. Basically, it is politics in action. Where no vision exists, one is provided and promoted. Where a vision does exist, it is claimed and promoted, or adjusted and promoted. But always, the promotion. The quality of leadership, as measured by the success of the leader’s own work, largely depends on the leader’s ability to convince the people of this or that. How that is done is the subject of creative leadership.

  2. You are exactly correct a leader that doesn’t promote their own agenda, is hardly a leader, but if they can convince people they are a good leader then they will remain leader. Results are almost secondary.

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