//Where have all the leaders gone?

Where have all the leaders gone?

Image result for jury panel

We can’t legitimately venture an answer this question, of course, without first defining what we mean by the term ‘leader,’ at least in our own eyes. There is more than one way to do this, but, for simplicity’s sake, let’s use free association to identify some of the traits we expect to see in a ‘leader.’

More specifically, let’s pretend to ask a group of 15 volunteers to voice the first word that pops into their head when they hear a certain trigger word. Using ‘leader’ as this trigger word, let’s say that our 15 volunteers respond by building the following list of traits, with each volunteer contributing one trait:
















To make this list your own, you might want to put a checkmark in front of each trait you agree with, and cross out and/or replace any traits you do not agree with. You might then want to name as many leaders as you can who embody at least a majority of these traits.

If you have trouble doing this, you might want to ask yourself if what follows might be the problem:

The real leaders among us are highly resistant to taking up the mantle of leadership (and everything that goes with it), because they have little or no appetite for either outsized responsibility or outsized power. In most cases, in fact, they will go out of their way to avoid even the possibility of bumping into the one or the other. To be activated into service, these latent leaders essentially need to be conscripted, as in the example of a juror being designated foreperson, or Ben Franklin being designated commissioner to the French court.

In the novel Poor Richard’s Lament, Franklin suggests that in every group of seven people, assembled at random, there is at least one latent leader who will rise to the occasion, whatever that occasion might be, if enlisted. Might you be one of those?

2019-01-06T17:41:52+00:00January 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|4 Comments


  1. Micki Morency January 10, 2019 at 2:23 am - Reply

    I read that list and the people I want to honor who possess some of these traits don’t have names that are known outside of their small circles. In fact, they live in some of the shit-hole countries and they are doing selfless, empathetic, sacrificial, honest work…people who give even when they don’t have enough. People who risk their lives to defend others. People who nurture, advocate, defend, protect the vulnerable. One of these was my late Papa, a man I admire, and I live to emulate.

    PS: I like Dori Hale list. In fact, why don’t we just let women run the world!!!!!
    “What the hell do we have to lose?”

    • TomF January 10, 2019 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      Yes. It’s time.

      Who will take the lead?

  2. Dori Hale January 6, 2019 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    I do not think there is a lack of real leaders or that real leaders are unwilling to take the required responsibility and power. I see real leaders in the US in many of the incoming congressional representatives (and some of the younger ones already established.) I can think of three women on the global stage whom I consider real leaders: Angela Merkel, Theresa May, and Nancy Pelosi (who is third in line to the US Presidency!) The head of Taiwan (who also happens to be a woman) seems to be taking her leadership seriously. And so on.

    And if we leave the field of politics (which, after all, is not the only realm of leadership), one can find plenty of leaders in the arts, in religion (think the Dalai Lama), science, etc.

    A leader cannot be a leader without followers.

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