Many great books exist on the topic of excellent leadership, such as those written by John Maxwell, Stephen R. Covey, Jim Collins, or Kenneth Blanchard. This is not one of those books… (It’s a website.)
My colleague and I were exchanging emails recently, and I need to share his latest foolishness with the world:
Growing up, my mother constantly reminded me that we all can learn from positive experiences and negative contrasts. We can learn what to do as well as what not to do in any given situation. It’s a good thing, too, because I have been blessed with many “opportunities” to learn from negative contrasts.
When liquid is poured out of a glass bottle, air rushes in to displace it. If all the liquid is removed from a bottle and air is unable to take its place, a vacuum is created. The vacuum is always yearning to be relieved, eager to pull something into the container to equalize the pressure difference between the outside and the inside. The vacuum tries to suck things in, whether it is air, a cork, or anything else that will satisfy the lack of pressure.
If leadership is absent from the workplace, where it should naturally exist, a void exists. However, no other quality is able to fill that void, since leadership cannot be replaced nor displaced by anything else. Instead, it leaves behind an undeniable vacuum, a palpable frustration in the hearts and minds of everyone involved. It can only be solved by the correct person stepping up to assume authority and lead the way for all. Sadly, leadership vacuums often exist for many seasons, with no end in sight, leaving that portion of the worker’s soul in dissatisfaction, agony, and hopelessness.
Workers suffer in a leadership vacuum. They need boundaries. They are disappointed by lack of direction. They are unfulfilled by meaningless work. They yearn for excitement and enjoy a challenge. They may fight leadership at times, but they need a firm foundation of requirements and expectations. Without that, they are unchallenged and are unable to find joy in work. That is sad, since work can and should be both challenging and satisfying. They unknowingly desire this about work, though they may not fully understand it.
The “leader” may be petrified. He may have a temper. He may be insecure or arrogant or shy. He may say the wrong thing at the wrong time. He may avoid all confrontation to the point of sanctioned incompetence and the frustration of others. He may have a strong vision, yet inadequate communication and poor relationship skills. This leaves everyone groping around in darkness while their visionary is miles ahead, hacking his own way through the jungle. If he realizes his state and endeavors to correct it, though, there is hope for him, his employees, and his company.
Whatever the reason you’re at this point in life, remember that you can learn from positive experiences as well as from negative contrasts. Let us uncover what can be learned from leadership examples that are not working at work.
I like the imagery of a vacuum, but he has it all wrong… (My vacuous teachings will have to wait for another time.) You do see all of the errors in his thinking, don’t you? If not, then you are an excellent candidate for my wisdom.
There are too many poor leaders, and they need to be individually rebuked and mocked. Thus, I felt very led to start this website, both for their detriment and your benefit. I will teach others the relative truth about leadership. You need a grand example of what to do in business and leadership. Sadly, very few people are aware that I have been that example for decades, shining outward as a lighthouse on a bluff, beckoning for all nearby ships to head my way. This blog, then, is a way to make my lighthouse even brighter, for your sake. Come to the light.
W. Albert Jameson, IV