10 Major causes of failure in leadership:
#9: “EMPHASIS OF THE ‘AUTHORITY’ OF LEADERSHIP. Efficient leaders lead by encouraging, not by trying to instill fear in the hearts of their followers. Leaders who try to impress followers with their ‘authority’ come within the category of leadership through force. Real leaders have no need to advertise that fact except by their conduct, sympathy, understanding, fairness and a demonstration of knowledge of the job.” (by Napoleon Hill in “Think and Grow Rich”).
Mr. Hill here effectively compares the leadership styles of figures such as Jesus Christ, Mohamed and Ghandi with the likes of Adolf Hitler, Kim Jong-Un and Fidel Castro. How so?
In that the ultimate purpose and goal of truly great leadership should be to create a system, following, business model, political endeavor or cash-flow opportunity which, at some point in the future will be self-perpetuating. To engender in followers the desire and passion to be prepared, able and motivated to continue on the prescribed path without the original leadership figure at the helm. The goal of a Prince or Princess is to create income and wealth that does not require daily or hourly attention to keep things flowing productively and profitably. If, upon retirement of the leader, the venture withers and dies, then the efforts of the leader will not be enjoyed by his or her heirs, successors, family and of course, the families of all of the followers who have come to rely on the income and opportunity created by the passionate and humble leader.
Therefore, a true leader (Prince or Princess) must instill a spirit of trust, faith and self-sacrifice in the followers for the greater good. No society built on wealth and prosperity for a privileged few can last. Revolution is inevitable. Long term peace and prosperity requires that followers follow because they truly love, respect and trust their leader.
I am fully convinced of this with just one minor exception.
It must be acknowledged that there are some individuals who will simply refuse to follow even the most skilled, honorable and loving leader. Even Alexander the Great was forced to cleanse his higher ranks of dissenters. A business, company or investment endeavor that entertains dissenters is doomed to failure. Therefore, such ones must quickly be excised from the team … cut off like a cancerous growth. The old saying that you should be “slow to hire and quick to fire” can and should be taken as a basic tenant of success.
How then does one reconcile the need to be humble and loving to one’s charge with the need to be somewhat ruthless? Simply because the whole can and will suffer and fail over the dissensions of a single individual. You, as a leader, also have a responsibility to your loyal followers to protect them from injury. So, while not dispensing indiscriminate terror through your following, there is also a time for surgical activity to cut out a cancer for the greater good. If you need an example to follow, just look to those historical figures who’s legacy has endured as opposed to those who have faded into infamy.