The Perilous Pursuit of Leadership

It’s deep in many of us — perhaps most of us — to want to be a leader. To need to be a leader. To be recognized as a leader. But leadership can be as dangerous as it is desirable.After all, Nero, Castro and Caligula were leaders. So was Ivan the Terrible and Attila the Hun. What sets good apart from bad?

The destination, of course, but could it also be the journey? Could the aspiration to leadership itself be corrupting? So much emphasis today is placed on where we’re going that we can be blind to the dangers of how we get there. The perilous pursuit of leadership, I believe, lies at the root of many of our problems in business, in culture and in politics.

There are, of course, as many ways to examine the pursuit as there are ways to define leadership. But start with this simple truth: leadership entails direction. Motion. If there’s nowhere to go, you don’t need a leader.Sitting in your easy chair? No leadership necessary. Stewing in your problems? No leadership evident. Resigned to the future of your career, your company, or your country? There’s no need for leadership because you’re going nowhere.

View Article