Popularity and leadership

The popular thing is not the right thing. “Likes” do not indicate influence. Leadership isn’t cool.

These facts are tough for leaders. It can be easy to doubt yourself when you aren’t getting strong engagement from people, to wonder if you’re really doing the right things or if something is wrong with your approach, if what you believe is correct. Heck, you might even get called crazy because leadership is so rare today it can seem eccentric.

Honesty, empathy, dedication to values, and a desire to learn are rare gems in Western culture.

Kim Kardashian has more followers than so many great leaders. She will not be remembered by history, and I’m sure many people who currently have many fewer followers than her will be.

Popularity is not leadership. Pop culture has poisoned the minds of the youth. The media on Snapchat is an abomination.

Many of our elected officials are not leaders.

You might add to this the fact authority is not leadership.

Leadership is principled, and it’s complex because it implies a sense of morality. But at its essence, there is a collection of key characteristics once equated with the virtuous. Today, it manifests as things like:

  • The courage, perhaps even audacity, to live your truth despite the reception you receive from others;
  • The vulnerability to admit mistakes and embrace your humanity;
  • And the constant pursuit of veracity.

Perhaps most importantly it is the embodiment of the realization of the duties we owe to each other.

So, here’s the deal: this is hard to practice advice but please be at ease about recognition and “Likes”, just try your best, and strive to find and do the right thing.






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