I have spent two days listening to recycled drivel on leadership. Some of the biggest names in the corporate consulting world presented nothing more than rehashed ideas, catch phrases, and anecdotes on what makes leaders great.
They touted the ideals of business culture, collaboration, and the importance of creativity, throwing in the random scripture attempting to spiritually validate their claim to fame. The time was filled with nothing more than subjective observations about what leaders think, do, or believe, ending in what sounded more like a cacophony of birds mimicking and echoing each others songs.
I have begun to believe that leadership is completely relative. It is cultural, stylistic, and limited to a generation. To listen to anyone decry top-down leadership as ineffective and unproductive knows very little about the largest and most threatening countries in the world today: China, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, etc, etc, etc…. It would appear to me that top-down leadership is highly effective. What we have also observed is that given the opportunity for democracy, many if these countries revert back to authoritarian rule over time.
In modern thoughts on leadership, Steve Jobs could be considered the poster child of effective, empowering leaders. He created an environment of unbridled creativity and team empowerment that is seen in precious few companies in the world. As a result we have some of the most innovative products in the world! Products so effective that it is reported that nearly 40% of US teens have iPhones. He modeled EVERYTHING that is chanted as effective in leadership except one single decision. He chose to have his products manufactured in China. China! The country to which America is beholden for the lions-share of our nations debt and possibly one of the MOST dictatorial, top-down, restrictive environments in the world today! China has made countless MILLIONS in the deal. So who is the more effective leader?
If the borrower is servant to the lender, then it doesn’t take a high-paid business consultant, or motivational speaker to figure this one out. Even an idiot knows who the more effective leader is.