When my daughter, Mara, asked me 10 questions about leadership, her very first one was “what makes a leader?”
My friend and mentor, Jacque Jacobs, told me “driving 35 in a 65 with ten cars behind you doesn’t make you a leader.” If a line of people following you doesn’t make you a leader, what does?
There are thousands of books on leadership, spanning thousands of years across hundreds of civilizations. From the time humans could write, they have been writing about leadership, leading, and leaders.
One of the cultural challenges we face in the United States is that we have a narrow view of what makes a leader. We generally think of a leader as being the visionary who is out in front, inspiring the people following him.
The problem with this construct is that it leaves out so much. This is just one type of leadership, sometimes referred to as heroic leadership. But there are many more ways to lead. A couple of weeks ago we looked at the idea of wu-wei, doing without doing (or leading without leading). There are other forms as well.
Tomorrow we’ll continue to look at what makes a leader.
Do good and be well,