Two weeks ago, I expressed that when we explore the subject of Courage in Leadership, the pressures that oppose leaders is important to identify. And, as stated then, one of these is the fear of what others will think, what they might say, or how they could act if we truly lead consistent with our stated mission, our conscience, and how the circumstances should require us to lead. I called this, “the fear of man” (click here to read).
Last week I discussed how the flip-side is essentially the same issue viewed from a corresponding and similarly perilous motivation: Being a leader who is too strongly impacted by the opinion of those they lead. I call this leader a “people-pleaser” (click here to read).
Over the past five years as I have written this blog each week, it has been insightful to continue to learn from people who read and respond with their own unique insights. Periodically I pause to provide their comments for others to read. Such is the case this week.
That said, I must confess a personal bias. The comments that follow were provided by my brother Jim. Yes, though I am biased by my love and admiration for my brothers (both brothers), it is also noteworthy that Jim’s comments are based on a long history of his very successful leadership in a variety of significant roles in the industries he has served. Here are his thoughts:
Some leaders seek public opinion first to formulate their message and then set priorities based on what pleases the public the most. I think of a few politicians who operate this way. But I think these leaders are not the ones who will be remembered in history.
Contrast that with leaders who are able to articulate a vision that captures what people are thinking in a fashion that is more concrete than what individuals are able to express. People will identify with those leaders in a way that inspires their own thinking and passion. Those leaders will gain support and momentum because of their ability to guide the energy of a group of people to accomplish a task. This is the mark of a leadership style that can truly change course for an organization or social movement.
Great insight, Jim. And I fully agree.
What are your thoughts on the topics of “the fear of man” and those who are “people pleasers?” Do either of these represent leadership as you would describe it?
Of course, I can’t conclude this blog without saying, “Thanks, brother Jim, for your insights!”
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