Leadership is like obscenity, I can’t define it but I know it when I see it! It is an adjective given to Presidents, Generals, CEO’s, congressmen and Popes. It is given by society to anyone who wins the consent of the voters to perform a necessary function in a civilized society. It is often undeserving for the recipient.
‘Leader’ is not used to describe the skill set of a shepherd with his flock, the driver of the pace car in a race or the drum major marching in front of a parade. As obvious as this is, this is what many of our politicians call leadership today. They will listen to the complaints of the voters then stand in front of the crowd, saying what they want to hear, and then call them self a leader. Another description is “leading from behind” or following the polls. A populous leader is simply the majorette at the front of a parade.
The truly great leaders of our civilization are few. Washington, Lincoln and Jesus Christ are the ones most described as truly great leaders. These men had a full and complete understanding of what they were doing and why. They lead by example and they knew where they were going. They acted with the understanding their example must live far beyond their physical presence on this earth. They all, except for Lincoln, did not want to be leaders. Their objective was to make the world a place for future generation to enjoy by following their example. They were geniuses building a system of government that any idiot could run.
In business and in government, the true objective is to simply manage the system for the continued long term mission of the entity. In business, it is sustainable profits. In government it is also sustainable profits, but that profit is the domestic tranquility of the society which is difficult (not impossible) to measure.
The real bottom line is: “If there is no margin, there is no mission!” Simply stated, if there is not some gain or improvement from the energy and resources invested, it will definitely fail in the long term. We can’t get anything for nothing!
The task of our politicians is to manage, simply use the tools (our constitution) to provide domestic tranquility so each citizen can achieve their personal pursuits, generation after generation.
This is why business experience is so vital for any government servant. You can’t lead if you don’t know where you are going! All solutions become apparent after it is too late to change. The best leaders see the answer first and react while there is still time, because of experience.