Wednesday, December 20, 2023


 I have this very simple/simplistic view on leadership.

People will become a follower if:
a) They believe the person is competent
b) They will personally benefit from that person's competence
Whether it's a minister, a businessperson, a writer, a local organizer, or a criminal doesn't matter all that much.

We like to impart character and integrity to our leaders, and we like to pretend that we chose them because of their superior traits, but it doesn't matter as much as we would like to pretend. If those were really the criteria, we would never fall for con men and tricksters.
Remember. that people followed some pretty unsavory characters in the past and many do now.

I had to chew on this for years, because people can be radical followers of some pretty awful characters. Why would they be so blind to the character of their heroes?

It seems consistent now, that it's down to two factors.
The perceptions don't even have to be correct. Sometimes confidence masquerades as competence. In politics, business, religion, or social life the bombastic and dynamic personality is often chosen over the quietly competent because confidence looks like competence to the outsider.

Some people speak with such conviction that others are tricked into believing they know what they're talking about.
It always comes down to people "backing the winner" - the good/bad guy who is "on our side" and who is aligned with our interests. They're "going to win" so we want to be on their side, and benefit from that support.
Their competence will benefit us, so they're the "good guy."
That draws followers.
It defines leaders.

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