With all that has happened the last several months leads me to ask the question, “Who is the leader of ‘insert-name-of-group?” When I asked someone that question, “Who is the leader you are following?” The person responded, “I don’t know.”
Fascinating. To be part of an organization / movement and not know who the leader is. So, do we need a leader? If the organization / movement is making progress (and … then we have to have a definition of “progress”) why have a leader?
Difficult questions to answer — surprisingly difficult.
Why do we need a leader?
We need a leader to be the rudder of the ship. A rudder’s job is to steer the ship or plane. It redirects the force – the water strikes the force on one side and while decreasing the force on the other side. The “north.” The compass. The guide – how fast and how slow; left or right. The voice of the group. The leader keeps the momentum moving forward.
Part of the leader’s job is to leave a legacy. Because a leaderless organization / leaderless movement is making progress for now does not mean the progress is going to be “infinite.” Washington. Jefferson. Lincoln. Tubman. X. King, Jr. All those folks I listed left a legacy. Leaders build the bench. Leaders train someone to succeed them. I do not see a leaderless organization / leaderless movement leaving a legacy. Very difficult. There are more leaders that leave legacies compared to a leaderless organization / movement.
A leader gives his / her followers a role model. The leader sets (with help / support from others) and shows how to live the mission. There is only a follower, if there is a leader. Yet, it is nice to have a person we would like to emulate. For example, John Wooden. I am sure many of his players thought, “I want to be like Coach Wooden.” If there was no Coach Wooden, there would be no “I want to be like Coach Wooden.” We need to be careful not to idolize the leader so much that we become their puppet.
People need to be loved and a leader provides that love. Most successful leaders LOVE people. And that LOVE gives needed fuel for the followers. The love for a leader can help keep momentum moving forward. It’s a source of inspiration. To have no leader, the necessity of love is unfulfilled.
As of June 18, 2020, I do see groups that are getting a lot of attention not having a “leader.” Again, I have asked people, “Who is your leader? Who is your Malcom X? Who is your Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?” The answer is, “I don’t know.”
Once these organizations / movements start to have a leader be identified – one leader – they will have more credibility. More sense of direction. They will be more focused. That person will be like a conductor of an ensemble. A conductor’s job is to bring the chaos of sound into order. Will be interesting to hear these organizations / movements’ music.
As an orchestra needs a conductor, an organization / movement needs a leader to bring chaos to order. The conductor has the score and musicians to bring the score (music) alive. The organization / movement’s leader has the mission / the cause and the followers to bring the mission / the cause alive!
The question is “do we need a leader?”
Yes. We need a leader.
One final thought … please be the leader you would want to follow. Be a good leader for YOU!