When it comes to true leadership and how it looks like, an ideal world is described. And I am no exception. In my blog "Thoughts on Leadership" I talk about the Leadership we need in the 21st century. I talk about what makes a leader in such an ideal world. Yet, this blog "The Unconditional Groth" is different as you might have realized by now. This blog is about the reality we face every day. The often crude reality. It's all based on my experience of many years. You might conclude that it's too exaggerated and you might want to dismiss it. That's ok. Always do your own critical thinking and don't just believe. And maybe it rings a bell. If it appears to you too far fetched, you are too naive. If it’s too strong, you are too weak. That's why you are at where you are at.
So, today I am talking about reality. I am talking about the dark side of leadership.
Every day we are confronted with the dark side of leadership. Whether we lead or we are led. It's always present. And often it's shapeshifting. Nothing is as it appears to be. It was that way 3000 years ago and it still is. The sage have long known this truth.
Leadership means human beings are involved. And the human race still lacks the development of being always integer, honest, straight forward, trustworthy, fair. Hence, if there is an advantage one can take, he / she will take it.
There is a different game being played. And it's about power and how to keep it, increase it, and executing it. Ever wondered where the noun "executive" comes from?
You wanna be fair. You wanna play by the rules. That's how you were educated. I hear you. And that's very nice of you. But did you also hear the saying "nice guys finish last"? Or did you hear this one: "Power is not given. Power is taken.". It's irrelevant that you want to be fair, when the game being played is a different one, is not fair. You might as well commit professional suicide.
Anywhere but not in my company, you might say. Your company is the exception. Your company is where the good people flock together. And you have friends inside your company. Congrats if that’s the case. You won the lottery. But just in case consider the following: your friends can become spoiled. They can turn against you in a heartbeat providd the price is right. I saw it happen around myself. I saw it happen in other places. But at your company they are satisfied with what they have you might say. Then keep in mind that satisfaction is not the same as loyalty. Fear your enemies, but fear your friends more.
Look at the big picture you can see every day. It's called "Geopolitics". The superpower securing its interests on a global scale. Runner-up regional powers threatening the superpowers or simply their neighbours. Russia and Ukraine. China and Vietnam. World dominance is the name of the game. And it's not about fairness. It’s not about friendship or loyalty. It's about power.
On much smaller scale a similar sort of game is played in organizations and companies as well. Of course, they would officially deny that. They point to their corporate rules. And the same is true between organizations and companies. The patent wars come to mind. And often, it's perfectly camouflaged. Yet, just like a physicist would do it, look for the effects. Where there is an effect, there must be a cause.
Ever heard about the infamous "win: win" ? There is no such thing as all parties winning. It doesn’t exist. One wins, one loses. Period. When someone mentions “win:win” to you that should immediately trigger a big red flag. It's an instrument of power designed to control people. Did you ever realize that it doesn't matter what kind of bullshit someone is saying as long as the guy holds the power? People bend over to power.
When you are in a leadership position you will be attacked. Because there will be always someone for whom you are a disturbance or at least an irritation. You might argue that there are other leaders who are not attacked. And it’s true. It’s either that they are simply too insignificant and no threat at all. Sheep in a sheep’s fur. Or, they have assumed formlessness and are rather wolves in sheep’s fur. Better learn to distinguish both.
The higher you go, the tougher the game becomes. You can see and detect these games around you. And I am sure you do. And on the highest level they play a game you, maybe, won't even understand.
You want to make a difference and bring about the leadership we so desperately need? Then stop believing and start critical thinking. You better learn to play the game and bring yourself in the strategic position of control. Control the choke points. Play the game and play it masterfully. Otherwise your honest and beautiful goals won't happen.How and where can you learn what it takes? Well, that's your first test. And learn you should. That’s what true leaders do.