What makes for a great leader? In my opinion, a great leader is one whom can also follow.
When your time comes will you be able to follow? I thought of the scene in Dead Poets Society at the end where the students stand on their desks and herald their teacher, quoting lines from the famous Walt Whitman poem “O Captain, my captain!”, vowing to follow their teacher anywhere he might lead.
In the movie, these young men are primed to be the greatest minds of their generation – doctors, lawyers, politicians, actuary experts and ambassadors. These men are considered to be great scholars, possessing profound intellect and a high aptitude for success.
But they were willing to follow their captain to the ends of the earth if need be. Robin Williams plays the unorthodox professor – an alumnus of the institution where he’s now teaching these pliable minds.
His purpose in leading these young men is to get them to think for themselves, make their own decisions and find their own way. In a sense he is leading them to an enlightened existence.
Did they choose their paths, or were the predetermined even before birth? SPOILER ALERT: One young man, having experienced a taste of freedom, becomes so desperate to escape his preordained existence that he takes his own life.
This has a profound affect on Williams of course, who feels indirect guilt for pushing the boy over the edge. It was his talk of freedom, passion and purpose that drove the boy to explore his heart and soul and seek more. It is when the boy’s father squelched this adventurous spirit that he ended his life.
In the end, Williams was pushed aside (in the interest of the children). Though he disagreed he still obliged.
All this got me to thinking…what exactly is a good leader? And it occurred to me that a good leader can lead and follow, she can push and pull, challenge and support. A good leader can stand at the helm delegating and pitch in to man the masts. She is holds her ground on the front lines and stands aside behind the scenes in an effort to let others have a chance at bat (or at times to spare them from harm).
A good leader teaches and a good leader learns.
As I strive for balance in my life, I see how much teaching and learning have helped me to grow. My next step is to put in place a team of captains and mates who can help me venture into this next phase of my life. I am learning that their presence is essential to my balance – people on whom I can depend, whom I can lead and whom I can follow.
Do you have what it takes to join my elite recognizance squadron? Could you handle Operation Zen and our mission to place wealth back in the hands of many, creating enlightened millionaires the world over? Exactly who is qualified, capable and willing to take on such a challenge?
Posted by the Denim Diva aka Chikita “The Corporate Assassin”
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