Friday, March 03, 2006

Inner and Outer Leadership

There's an external face to leadership. First the personal - gestures, tone of voice, content of speech, expression and so on. Beyond that but still close to the person, there are the symbols or accouterments like a bench, a chair or a throne. Then, physically independent of the person, are their results such as the attitudes of those around them, their reputations and their products including projects, organizations and enterprises or writings, science and art. Meanwhile we know so well that leadership is more than these externals but these are what we most easlily observe and together comprise what we call "character" in our attempt to describe the real person.

Descriptions of character or personality may be as close as we can get to describing a specific leader unless that person does it for us by telling us what they think about themselves and what they stand for. But this gets complicated. Are they really describing themselves and how are we interpreting this information? Although we can develop skills of discernment we can never know the truth of it and ultimately the decision to trust, to follow, requires a leap of faith. And just the same applies as a leader enrolls a follower.

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