July 15, 2008


I guess when one sees leadership through this less than perfect lens, then what one scores in A levels or where one graduates from really peels away as irrelevant and even silly  – that’s really the compressed message of the movie; Finding Forrester;  there has to be something more to good leadership than just the gloss of good grades, EQ and having a whiter than white personal life – I don’t doubt these attributes may prove important, but in the scheme of things they should never be allowed to color the selection process so completely, that it squeezes out the jugular and relevant producing only the same card board figures who lament no end why they cannot seem to prosper in getting their message across these days. 


My gut feel tells despite the rising waters of our digital age good leaders must still able to solicit deep reflection and introspection in others  by crafting ever more interesting ways to recruit the crowd (I for one have never respected a leader who doesn’t have the skills to walk into a crowded room and say, have you all consider this? Only for the crowd to suddenly grow silent and walk away seeing the world slightly differently).


Some things I feel will never ever change; such as the quest to make sense in our age: why were we put on this earth? Where are we going? Is the cost worthwhile?


It seems the art of reinventing oneself has never ever been so intertwined with the idea of leadership before ; this is what the Greeks called phronesis, practical wisdom, that’s really where Jamal and Forrester were heading too through out the whole movie; the point of convergence; when each of them had to struggle with their private demons; Jamal from the crushing cacophony of poverty, violence and the land of lost hopes; Forrester from his long hiatus from the world brought forth by his self imposed exile; that in essence is what “Phronesis” implies, the skill to bridge the divide and win the day.


Given today’s pressing global problems having a leader who is able to think pragmatically and intelligently isn’t enough, he needs to be able to beacon out the murk creatively and if possible even laterally but more importantly he needs to be able to bridge the divide and reach out to those islands of thoughts out there.


I cannot see this ever happening if a leader is just preoccupied with the hum bug nuts and bolts of keeping a country running smoothly. Or if all he does is leverage on the public image, the marketing manisfesto has managed to  prop up – not against the backdrop of an ever changing world; a world where the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer – a world that’s increasingly homogenizing into one gigantic global mass where individualism is systematically relegated in favor for collectivism – a world that’s constantly throwing out spin balls where its increasingly more difficult to seek out that happy balance between economic growth and social and spiritual development. Against such a heady backdrop where people have every right to be skeptical and reserved about even “good” leaders; good grades alone or a sterling run at staying out of trouble don’t nearly measure up by half against skill sets like self awareness, self reflection  and even been prepared to get it wrong at times– here humility plays a pivotal role i.e the willingness to learn from others.


I am not saying leadership is only about feelings, emotions and soft skills, but even the most pragmatic amongst us cannot deny it cannot be only about hard nosed quantitative numbers either – in my view, there has to be a balance of the two and if I had to distill it into one word – spirit will do very nicely; as its able to effectively link mind, body and heart to the broader issues which leadership is supposed to addressed – paradoxically, it is usually in others that we glimpse ourselves and understand how our acts and omissions would have either a positive or negative effect. Real leaders are custodians of that spirit of greatness they regularly seek it out in others; in the everyday; in housewife’s, bus drivers, care giver and even the man who simply fights for the right to ride his bike on the pavement – as the task of leadership cannot be just about telling us all how perfect and infallible the system is or why we should keep to the system, as the system reliably keeps us; or how the world will suddenly cease to turn on its axis if we sailed too far off the edge. If the truth be known; the real task of a leader is simply to elicit, great ideas great deeds and great dreams from all of us, for every good leader knows the greatness is already there in every single one of his followers.


As the read club reader of the BB club, I would like to dedicate this to Bambi Darkness with the following words,


“Real leaders don’t just decide and pack off and run away! Leaving everyone who once believed in them in a lurch. Only carpetbaggers do that! You idiot!”


Catherine the Great.


[This is a debut article written by Jasta 1 & Catherine The Great for The Brotherhood Press 2008. This was their first and last article. The Brotherhood Press has since stopped all publications – this little known article was once published in ASICS, Phi Beta Kappa, The Strangelands – This article has been reconstituted by the Free Internet Library Board]


[Do you want a full 360° sweep of “Deregulating The Net?” Do consider bookmarking this excellent site to keep abreast of the  Internet Deregulation debate – FILB 2008]


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