Be a Leader
and follow these guidelines
In my last annual review it was pointed out I lack ‘leadership skills’.
I couldn’t agree more. I’m a hardcore FOLLOWER and always will be. If things go wrong I’m one of those people that say ‘I was just following orders’ and point a finger at the ‘order giver’, i.e. my boss.
It’s suggested I think about applying for a ‘leadership role’. Not mentioning that ‘Never Volunteer’ is also part of my work ethic, I reluctantly agree to do some research.
First things first – if you’re going to be a leader you’d better define its origins.
Leader comes from the Old English ‘leden’, meaning ‘to direct or show the way’, so make sure you’re not mistaken for the office EXIT sign.
‘Leader’ is also the name of a newspaper in Wales, an IT company, a ballet school, and lord have mercy a funeral service in Hounslow. When people are looking for a leader, it’s not someone guiding them towards life’s last station. Unless you want to arrange your own funeral service which wouldn’t make you a leader, but a ‘hero’ in the eyes of your surviving family members.
Contrary to popular belief a leader is NOT ‘Someone who has the potential to blow up the world in a mushroom cloud’. That’s a ‘Megalomaniac, egocentric narcissist with a bad haircut that happens to be the leader of the Free World’. The fact that another ‘Megalomaniac narcissist with a bad haircut happens to be the leader of the Not-So-Free-World (North Korea)’ is worrying but would solve all cremation service charges.
A leader by definition is simply ‘A person who leads or commands a group, organization or country’.
Hmmmm… I can’t help but think of Guyana’s Jim Jones guiding his people to drink his spruced up Kool-Aid, or Harvey Weinstein steering countless women into his bedroom (how he had time to make so many movies remains a mystery) and finally (and most frightening): ‘Los del Rio’ leading millions of people around the world into dancing LA MACARENA.
Then there’s something called the Natural leader, not to be confused with naturist leader … usually an old crumbly that shrivels up in the cold. A Natural leader is someone born into the role. It’s that attention seeking newborn lying among 40 sleeping babies that starts crying thus making all others follow suit. If your baby is the first to howl – rest assured you have given birth to a leader. There is a slight chance he could also be a psychopath who will not rest until he owns the world (think Putin) and avoid taxation (think the Queen).
Don’t worry if you’re one of the wailing followers (like me) because it’s possible to ‘Learn to Lead’. Yup. All you have to do is buy one of the thousands (and I mean thousands) of books on leadership.
From ‘THE LAWS OF LEADERSHIP’ (trust lawyers to get involved when there’s money to be made), to ‘WHERE’S MY SHIP’ (nothing to do with naval industry) and finally the bestseller: ‘WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH YOU AT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL’. Call me stupid but where’s the ‘What they DO teach you at Harvard Business School’?
Among the many types of leaders, there is the Introverted leader. This is bound to be a huge success as he (or she) is too self-conscious to give out orders.
Another crowd favourite is the leader that does MBWA (Management by Walking Around). Especially if the individual walks out of the office murmuring ‘I can’t take it I can’t take it I can’t take it …’ as finance directors tend to do on a regular basis.
What everyone seems to agree on is that a leader has to LEAVE A LEGACY – something they will always be remembered for:
George H.W. Bush: ‘Read my lips: no new taxes’ (he lied).
Bill Clinton: ‘I did not have sex with that woman’ (he lied).
Donald Trump: ‘I grab women by the %&&88’ (he didn’t lie).
Perhaps after this exhausting and possibly useless analysis, you will become, like me, more determined than ever to stay true to my ‘followship’ principles.
Sonia Aste is a comedian and a proud FOLLOWER.