Leadership - A Misconception and a Re-orientation

Character and Success.   Someone teaching at a Leadership Seminar opined that when success outstrips character a meltdown of virtue is inevitable, or at very least, likely – we can’t enjoy success beyond our character development. 

But, and in fact, I would take it for granted that most success invariably takes us beyond our present character, and that character has the capacity of stretching and strengthening to accommodate the new reality.  In other words a meltdown is far from inevitable, although always possible. 

Provided there is a reasonable platform of integrity we can develop under the pressures of temptation, success and adulation.  To a point.   As to the limits of that point only God knows, as we certainly don’t adequately know ourselves, no matter how self-reflective and emotionally intelligent.  Only a fool professes to truly know him or herself.

Community Responsibility.  Implicit in most seminars about leadership is the idea that growth and personal development is essentially a matter of personal choice/s and awareness.  Nothing should be further from the truth, and in fact may be a reason that contributes to the consistent failure of ethics and morality in leaders that the sun shines on.   

That I can truly know myself, and that I can self reflect in time before a disaster, is a delusion - a dangerous fallacy. 

A need for external authority and accountability is paramount to and for success.  Character formation isn’t an individual responsibility; this is a misconception.  It is something best done in a huddle. 

My behaviour is a personal responsibility in that no body else can make my choices, but it is a community responsibility in that I shouldn’t and can’t learn and develop by myself – to make those self same choices and decisions. 

And self-accountability, whist taught and assumed, simply isn’t enough.  It can’t be, as it demands I see myself for who I am, and that is impossible as well as a great folly.