October 5, 2016
Throughout history, much has been written about what it means to be a leader. Ancient Chinese military general and “Art of War” author Sun Tzu described a leader as one who “cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to proper methods and discipline.” Nineteenth-century historian Thomas Carlyle believed leaders were born and not made, while English philosopher Herbert Spencer argued that leaders were the result of the society in which they lived.
Accordingly, a leader is a person who follows any given idea and ideology, in which any given leader strictly adheres to the fundamentals or set of principles which certain society is designed to function and operate. A leader follows and practices standards by example. A leader is a person who practically manifests and reflects what that given ideology proclaims. A leader should focus on following that given ideology where one belongs than lead followers since as leaders focus on leading people, they could forget following and practicing that ideology.
Accordingly, there are two types of leaders. The first ones are those leaders who see with precision far beyond the present, they look to the best future of society at large at the expense of present day condition of life of society at large. The second ones are those leaders who cannot see with precision to the good future of society at the expense of the present condition of society at large.
When leaders make all kinds of decisions for individuals and on behalf of individuals, they will fall in wrong trap hard to escape since they are making everyone to function like as machine. In this case, they will be in un-reconcilable contradiction and conflict with individuals and society at large. They start seeing things in their own eyes than the eyes of the individual and society at large. In this case, they create a communication and interaction which is built upon suspicion.
When leaders make all kinds of decision of their own, respecting those spaces and decisions made by individuals and society at large, they can integrate their function along with that of individual and society at large, they can create healthier and safer society and individuals within their own dynamics and domain. In this case, they develop communication and interaction which is built upon trust.
When leaders fail to see the future and destroy the present state and condition of society, conflict and contradiction will be their fate. They cannot function in way they should since they have failed to discharge their responsibilities and functions in expeditious manner. Hence they look for escape goats to justify their given failures. They point fingers on others since they cannot admit their own failures and they cannot do things by their own capacity and abilities. Pointing fingers on other is not sign of maturity but a child psychology which children do make.
I read an article which I find it very interesting in managing conflicts and contradiction that arise between leaders, society and individuals while they have different needs and views in life. Leaders have their own priorities as individuals and society too. But, the point of creating harmony and integration mainly goes to the leaders. When leaders fail to recognize and harmonize such needs properly, they fail and they live in crisis. Almost most of the conflicts and contradictions that arise and exist within society are lack of adequate and capable leadership, and unskilled leaders’ lead skilled society.
An example that I like to use is the problem of cutting a cake. A cake is to be divided between two children, Bob and Alice. Bob and Alice’s objectives are each to get as much cake as possible. But you, as the parent—as “society”—are interested in making sure that the division is fair, that Bob thinks his piece is at least as big as Alice’s, and Alice thinks her piece is at least as big as Bob’s. Is there a mechanism, a procedure, you can use that will result in a fair division, even when you have no information about how the children themselves see the cake?
Well, it turns out that there is a very simple and well-known mechanism to solve this problem, called the “divide and choose” procedure. You let one of the children, say, Bob, do the cutting, but then allow the other, Alice, to choose which piece she takes for herself. The reason why this works is that it exploits Bob’s objective to get as much cake as possible. When he’s cutting the cake, he will make sure that, from his point of view, the two pieces are exactly equal because he knows that if they’re not, Alice will take the bigger one. The mechanism is an example of how you can reconcile two seemingly conflicting objectives even when you have no idea what the participants themselves consider to be equal pieces.
Most society are in continuous conflicts and contradictions since leaders are the ones who cut and divide the cake and choose, and they also decide which part of the cake to go to their own, to the individuals and society at large. They do not create sense of ownership and responsibilities, sense of belongingness within the thinking and feeling of individuals and society as people witness all kinds of destructions in terms of properties and lives while the society make protests and public demonstrations as result of such lack of sense of ownership.
When leaders can ably see the future with precisions in way they have built upon communication and interaction between individuals, society and themselves—world of trust and confidence—such society lives with profound hope and confidence. Individuals, society and other components of society live with integration and harmony since they are in no doubt that good things will come as they have observed certain facts and outwardly seen and communicated positive things and functions out of what the leadership has demonstrated and exemplified in its working and responsibilities.
When leaders cannot ably see the future with precision whose failures are observed in present day actions and reactions of their own given undertakings—world of suspicion and contradiction—such society lives in despair and uncertainty. Individuals, society and other components of society live with disintegration and disagreement since they are in doubt that good things will come as they have not observed outwardly seen and communicated positive things and functions out of what the leadership has demonstrated in its working and responsibilities.