So, Leadership is a thing I have studied, and spent some time doing, both from being led and leading. I was on a work team once where we were told in pretty straightforward terms that we were either on the bus or off. I have heard this put in other ways at other times. It is a common enough leadership mantra. “Surround yourself with people who are all rowing in the same direction”. I have heard this and probably said it to a few people.
I no longer believe this. I think that there is a place in any organization for a dissenting point of view. You can’t have someone actively sabotaging the organization, but you can, and I think should, have dissenting views.
The organization I was involved in became quite untenable and after a short period of time, I left. Now, I would never have done anything to go against the organization, but I was told that holding a view of things that was different was a problem. I had a different view of the way we accomplished our tasks. my goal was to help the organization, but I felt that there were lines I would not cross. I was told that I was either on their bus, or I should find a new bus. This was, and is, shocking to me.
I understand that some people do not like to hear dissenting voices, they certainly believe that if you go about things differently, it is akin to sabotage. It just is not so. We need, more so than ever before, to be open to being wrong, to being corrected, to finding a new path. We need to be people that seek what is best, not merely what is successful, though the two do not necessarily compete.
I did find a new bus, and I am the driver of that bus. I try very hard to not be the guy who has to guide everything. I want to be a person that says, let’s find our common ground, let’s solidify that area, and work on the fringes.
On the bus, or off the bus…maybe that is altogether the wrong question. I left an organization that I was making a substantial contribution to. I am happy where i am, but there is always a little bit of, was this necessary? What could have been accomplished with a different mind set.
So, Leadership is more than just finding only people who agree with you, it is finding purpose among people who only agree partially with you.That’s my thought anyway.