Archive for the ‘Examples and Analyses of Lack of Leadership and Unquintessential Leadership’ Category

United States National CemetaryToday, May 29, 2017, is Memorial Day in the United States. Designated a national holiday in 1971, most Americans probably don’t see Memorial Day as much more than the beginning of summer and don’t know the roots of how this annual day of commemorating those who’ve died in military service to this country originated. (more…)

Adolf Hitler 1930's Nazi GermanyWe the peeps are strange, as Jim Morrison and the Doors observed in one of the band’s less enigmatic songs.

On the one hand, we have a great potential and capacity for intellect, logic, reason, and critical thinking, all of which can give us the ability to be objective, to think well, and to make sound decisions.

Yet, on the other hand, we overwhelmingly have the propensity to be absolutely slaves to our emotions, all of which are subjective, biased, seldom based on anything more than the feeling of the moment, and which completely derail that other side of us that should always be engaged and also always be the leader in the final outcome of what we say and do or where we go next. (more…)

Organizational dysfunction is the product of unquintessential leadershipOrganizational dysfunction surrounds us.

Corporations, companies, political bodies and groups, educational institutions, religious organizations, and social organizations all suffer, to one degree or another, from organizational dysfunction.

Why has organizational dysfunction become the norm instead of the exception to the rule? (more…)

In “The Mindset of Unquintessential Leadership and What It Looks Like in Action,” one of the characteristics that I identified as part of that mindset is bullying.

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all been exposed to bullying at some point during our lives. However, not all of us have been victims of bullying. For a bully to succeed, the person being bullied has to give his or her power to the bully.

Not everyone who gives this power to bullies is inherently weak. Sometimes the surrender simply comes from long-term battle fatigue and being completely worn down over time.

It takes tenacity, an exceptionally-strong will, and a very thick skin sometimes not to give power to someone else, especially with threats that sometimes go as far as the possibility of losing one’s life. (more…)

Lady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage That Made a PresidentLady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage That Made a President by Betty Caroli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was way too young to know anything about Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson when they were in the White House and much of the scant knowledge I had of Lyndon Johnson – which left me with a negative impression of him both as a person and as someone in a leadership position – before reading this book has been acquired through my extensive study of the long history of war, beginning with the French in the 1950’s, in Vietnam. (more…)

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed AmericaRising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America by John M. Barry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After unprecedented continuous and heavy rain storms from the summer of 1926 through the spring of 1927 along the Mississippi River, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 became the worst and most destructive river flood in the history of the United States, with 27,000 square miles along the river overwhelmed and buried by water at depths up to 30 feet.

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America doesn’t just document this historic natural disaster. Instead it comprehensively looks at all the factors, many of them more than a century in the making, that coalesced over time to create not only this disaster, but the response to it, and the way it dramatically changed life, especially in the lower Mississippi, from the Mississippi Delta to the swamp country below New Orleans, forever.

This book is gripping and grabs you into the story, not only of the Mississippi River, but of America: its geography, its people, its society, its military, its power enclaves in business, government, life and the deep and fatal flaws of each of those that, ultimately led to this disaster and its aftermath.

For people like me, with a strong scientific bent, the numbers, the physics, the math, the structure, and the detailed solutions for harnessing the destructive power of the river are enthralling, but they are presented in a way that anyone can easily understand, especially when the flaws in thinking because of ignorance and/or laziness crop up along the way.

There are no heroes in this story, only mere limited humans. Some were downright villainous: self-absorbed, narcissistic, mean, hate-filled, murderous, deceitful, and motivated simply by pride, vanity, and greed. Others were products of their environments and experiences, believing they were altruistic, good, and devoted to the greater good, while in fact when push came to shove, the darkness of their hearts revealed itself as well.

Even the one man who knew the Mississippi River better than anyone else (and probably still stands alone in that intimate knowledge of the river) and had the engineering genius to know how to properly harness its power for good and did everything within his power to make that happen, James Eads, had flaws of character that emerged under pressure.

It’s often been said that we will never know how strong we are until we are surrounded by and confronted in every space of our lives with the impossible.

I believe – in fact, I know from experience for certain – that we will never know or understand how truly weak we are – where the hidden deep and destructive flaws of our hearts, our souls, our minds, and, indeed, our very nature and character are – until we are inundated at every turn with the impossible.

It is at this point where we have the opportunity to choose: to fully and humbly commit and endeavor to completely change and replace the very broken, the fatally flawed, and the intrinsic dastardly wrongs that permeate the human heart or to fully and proudly embrace them and feed and grow them to their fullest extent.

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, at its core, is about the choices of America, its people as a whole, its society, its government, and, in fact, every single individual in the face of these weaknesses.

The choices disappoint. The weaknesses have continued to grow and to even more deeply become interwoven in the America – its people, its government, its society, and every single individual (including you and including me, if we have the courage and the honesty to admit it) – of 2016.

There is no concern or care for each other anywhere in the fabric of America and its organizations and institutions. Everything is about greed, power, and money. We destroy each other at every turn and in every nook and cranny of our society for our own benefit and for our own profit. We oppress. We steal. We lie. We cheat. We deceive. We hate. We destroy.

And we wrap all up in a pretty paper with a bow and sing our praises and exalt ourselves as we run the victory laps of our destructiveness and proclaim our honor and glory without end, when instead we should be ashamed of ourselves and doing something to wash away our sins.

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America is as current in its indictment of us as a nation, as a government, as a society, and as individuals as the century it covers that culminated in the preventable, but humanly inevitable, Great Mississippi flood of 1927.

The lessons here are instructive if we’re willing to learn them.

For those of us striving to be quintessential leaders, we must learn them and we must change as a result.

Otherwise, we have no claim at all to being quintessential or being leaders. We, instead are just pretenders, merely giving lip service to something that we know nothing about and want nothing to do with because doing it is infinitely harder – and requires so much more, and more than we are willing to give – than simply talking about it.

Are we merely talking a good game or are we doing the hard work?

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