Leadership Crisis: The Disconnect Between Ideals and Reality

I once read an article saying that seven out of eight Americans were unhappy with their leaders. And not just unhappy, but so unhappy that it impacted their quality of work, their enthusiasm, and the quality of their relationships with their spouses.

As I read this, I thought about some of the bosses that I had had, and I felt too that out of my last 8 bosses, there were only really 2 that I enjoyed working for and would happily work for again. Yes, David, one of them was you.

So from a work perspective, this really resonated with me, and then I started to think about leadership in a broader context and of the political leaders out there, and I can say that those stats again feel about right.

In our current political situation, I can honestly say that there are very few political leaders that make me feel comfortable or inspired.

We see atrocities almost daily, and yet there is silence from most Western leaders, even when their own people are calling for action.

It feels like self-interest has really taken over from group interest. Our leaders look to see what the impact will be on their interests or how they can gain from situations before action is taken, rather than stepping in and doing what we know to be right.

Yet how is all of this possible with the majority of leadership books and training talking about servant leadership, authenticity, stewardship, people-centric leadership, etc., etc., which would put the group ahead of self-interest.

It feels like these books are written to make us feel good about what leadership should be, but they are not a model for what leadership really is.

As followers, do we not get to pick and choose the leaders we follow? Can’t we reject these types of leaders who are not good role models for leadership? Or are we just waiting for our turn at the trough where we can fill our pockets and benefit from leadership positions?

I believe that we should demand more from our leaders; they should represent us, or at least be representative of us, but this doesn’t appear to be the case.

How can it be that Stephen Covey has sold 15 millions copies of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, yet very few of our leaders show those qualities or habits?

I do believe that there is a crisis in leadership, and I think the evidence is right before our eyes.

Now is the time for those of us who believe in servant leadership and people-centric leadership to step up and address the crisis in leadership and provide the people with the kind of leadership that will inspire them and make this world a better place.

I’d be very interested to hear your views or comments.

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