Friday, September 15, 2006

Lipman-Blumen on illusions of leadership

Another of my favorites posted a provocative statement to the ILA listserv. Jean Lipman-Blumen ( said on 9-14-06:
Unfortunately, leaders tend to create the illusions that they sense the followers want to hear. Mostly, these are illusions about keeping us safe from harm/death, making us feel important, even heroic, inviting us into the center of action, and giving our lives meaning, etc. The tragedy of the human condition is not that we all die, but rather that we choose to live by illusions. And there are so many toxic leaders eagerly waiting to feed us grand illusions disguised as noble visions. That was part of the message in "The Allure of Toxic Leaders."

Jean Lipman-Blumen

Jean seems always to be able to hit the nail on the head. This is a challenge of both leadership and followership. Those of us who seek to provide leadership must search our souls deeply enough to determine why we seek to influence others - is it to make ourselves appear important and heroic or is it to help others feel powerful in shaping their own lives? When we are engaged in the all-important followership that may be even more important in some ways, are we careful in discerning the motivations and purposes of those we follow?

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