Article by Steve Harvey, Director Impromptu
So, you see, I’m in this group. We’re grappling with a question.
What is a leader?
At least, I think that’s the question, but I’m not entirely sure. It could be, what does it mean to lead? Or maybe, it’s what does it mean to follow? Or even, why is a leader?
Mmmm...the essence of the question keeps slipping past.
Now I think about it, I’m pretty sure it’s, is there any such thing as a leader? Or is it leadership? Perhaps it is more along the lines of, should we eschew any notions of leadership because that defines the parameters of the discourse too narrowly and confers a power imbalance that reinforces a status quo defined by inequity and disadvantage? And, as soon as you say that you get twisted back up in knots.
And, anyway, it sounds ridiculously and annoyingly pompous.
So, being a leader? Is that we are talking about? Being….a leader? It’s sharp. It’s fuzzy. It’s elusive. It’s nonsense? It’s sophistry? It’s another book on the shelf saying nothing new. It’s conditional.
It’s conditional? Now, there’s a thing. Well, I say that, but if leadership isn’t a thing, and leading isn’t a thing either, what sense can we make of the conditions of it? It is a notion. An abstract conception. A thing that isn’t a thing.
But, it seems, there are conditions. It is conditional. Isn’t it?
Condition # 1
If you really, really want to be a leader, in leadership, maybe you’re not the best person for the job, because there’s all sorts of stuff to do with ego and power that maybe gets in the way.
Condition # 2
Is there something about being you, and having the right values? Is that okay, to say the ‘right values’? It’s sort of prescriptive, isn’t it? And who says what are the right values. Thanos had the right values, for him.
Condition # 3
Pretty much anyone and everyone is a leader.
Just sometimes they don’t realise it, or get called it, or believe it, or want it. Are there some, perhaps, who don’t deserve it?
Condition # 4
Ah, now then. Having a purpose. That’s a good one. Having a purpose that is about the greater good. And…..but doesn’t that bring us right back to the conundrum we were talking about before, about the right values?
It’s so tricky.
Condition # 5
So, who would dispute empathy, emotional intelligence, resilience, humility, care, resonance, vision, challenge, empowerment, collaboration, agility, openness, congruence, self-awareness, innovation, positivity, compassion, courage, integrity, decisiveness, flexibility……….it’s beginning to sound like another text book.
I think I might actually throw up.
Condition # 6
Do people trust you?
Condition # 7
(There have to be seven conditions. There are always seven. Or five, sometimes. Occasionally there are ten. But never nine, or two).
Are you just?
Sometimes it feels like trying to reinvent the wheel. But, in my experience, the wheel seldom runs true, or straight.