Let’s look at leadership carefully for a moment.
I have worked with several leaders in my career who should never have succeeded.
Kim could not make a decision to save his life. He dithered and dilly dallied and hemmed and hawed. He told everyone what they wanted to hear and when he finally made a decision, he did what he wanted in a clandestine manner, only to be caught red handed. Kim bet on one technology that turned out to be a smashing success, which made him and his team very rich. History was rewritten to make him into a hero and management guru.
Saul was extremely loquacious, and not the brightest lightbulb. His English was mediocre, at best. He spent hours and hours talking to his team members, one on one, to ensure that they were on board with his decisions, which he never made. Saul was a sports fan and often chewed off the ears of his staff with long monologues about what this or that player “should have done”. In a bad year when 3 of the released products failed to produce desired results, Saul managed to sell the unhappy customers new (undeveloped) products which saved the revenue stream of his company. Saul also managed to raise a huge amount of money even when his investors were bombarded with bad news about client dissatisfaction. Saul, like Kim, was reframed as a Churchill.
Allan is rude; he cannot listen more than a minute before he loses his patience. He knows how to do everyone’s job better than they do. He bullies employees and he makes sexist jokes. His personal assistants last no more than 6 months. Allan, faced with a quickly changing job market place, imported labour from abroad solving “a lack of skills” shortage. He scrapped an IT project which was diverting management attention and focused the company on “3 major wins”, as opposed to 50 small projects. He stabilized the product road map. Allan is also a Churchill like figure.
Of course, some leaders look great even though they are /may not be great. While I despise the Russian aggression and Russian leadership, certainly I do not think that Zalensky is a good leader. He provoked, he teased without a risk analysis, he bet the farm on western support and so on and so forth. And yes, he is a great actor, even better than Reagan. But what about the results? Ukraine is in ruins-no electricity, no water, nada. But Zalensky? He wears a nice green habit, and inspires his people; even more, he inspires western liberals. His present stature makes Churchill into Mickey Mouse.
What do we really know about leadership?
Kim, Saul and Allan are thought to be great leaders.
All over the world, people vote for right wing leaders who give them “meaning” and a “sense of belonging”, not proper governance.
Depressed people used to be dipped in ice water. That was the state of the art cure. In another époque, they were paraded to be shamed out of their depression. Now it’s all about serotonin. And ketamine. What do we really know about depression?
Or leadership. Very little.