Leadership? Where's the Cavalry?

Posted by Tom.Blackwood on August 11, 2015

Four Horsemen

"Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters." – Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

Silly lyrics that have a great meaning. It's a cheap rhyme, and any writer of lyrics knows sometimes you just punt. But, once the lyrics are out there, they are open to interpretation. You cannot "follow leaders," but if your parking meter runs out, the Man has you for a fine.

My basic attitude is to ignore people who would like to be my "leader." To heck with them. In order for someone to be a leader, others have to be followers.

"We're following the leader, the leader, the leader. We're following the leader wherever she may go." – Playground Song

That's just dumb. If the leader wants to go over a cliff, count me out. I am a lousy lemming.  

We often refer to those who govern as "leaders" when they are supposed to be servants, looking after the public good. Right now, those who want more power are trying to decide whether we need an oligarchy or a theocracy.  

This is leadership?

I did not agree with my former District 10 City Council representative on much, and that's being kind. I did applaud his efforts to curtail the activity of predatory payday loan outfits. He got that right. However, at the same time, my United States Representative accepted a $210,000 contribution from the payday loan industry. Who is leading here? Leading whom? Leading for whose benefit? Money is leading here and money grubbing isn't something I have a lot of respect for, but "we're following the leader, the leader, the leader."

A true leader lays out a plan in order to reach what needs to be accomplished. With luck, it's to accomplish something good for all and not just the few. In today's climate, good luck with all that.

Roger Enrico, a former president of Frito-Lay and eventual chairman of PepsiCo, could really make a speech. He knew what needed to be done and he laid out the way to do it. I was lucky to do a lot of work for PepsiCo companies in the 90's and got to hear Mr. Enrico speak several times.

One of his most remarkable comments is still quoted today. "Beware the tyranny of making small changes to small things." What he meant was incrementalism is dangerous in that it gives one a feeling of accomplishing something when all one is doing is making the "same old" a little bit different "same old."

Big changes to small things are better, but you have to do a lot of them to make a difference.

The only way to really instigate change and revolutionize something is to make Big Changes to Big Things. Rattle the foundations. Awaken all sleeping giants.  

We, as Christians, often refer to ourselves as sheep. But, Christians who made a difference did not behave in a sheep-like manner. John Calvin? Martin Luther? Martin Luther King, Jr.? They believed in big changes to big things.

We have big things that need big changes. Racism, bigotry, prejudice, inequality, hunger, poverty, war, violence, ignorance, and environmental destruction are all big things. Four Horsemen are no longer enough. We are in need of a whole cavalry platoon.  

Anyone who tries to make big changes to these is shouted down.

The only leader who can start making the changes is your own conscience. Follow bravely.

Comments

Posted by Allen DeSalme on
I often tell young people that one way to be a leader is to be who you are unabashedly, without making a lot of apologies for it. Whatever you are good at, do that right out loud. Whatever you enjoy, do that so others see it. You will be a leader almost by default, and will learn the benefits thereof almost automatically. And if you are a believer, you will probably be in line with what God would probably want you to do. You can also be brave in doing good because observers can see clearly that those who criticize you are in the wrong, and if they cannot see that they are not the ones you want to cater to anyway! Fear and trepidation never got anyone anywhere - doing the right thing gets a lot of people into better places and onto good tracks. Don't be dissuaded by Trumps and naysayers and nonthinkers - serve and lead. THey go hand in hand.
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