By James Tollefson
“The truth is that the State in which the rulers are most reluctant to govern is always the best and most quietly governed, and the State in which they are the most eager, the worst.” – Socrates .
Have you ever noticed that it is often those who desire to lead the most who do the worst job at it? Overcome with the passionate pursuit of their own ambition, they run roughshod over the rights of their followers, dismissive of the long-run interests even of the organisation they nominally serve. For the person who wants to be important, who wants to be in charge, the most important thing is to be seen and respected – the consequences, so long as they are manageable, are of secondary importance.
I love leadership, and I write constantly about the value of it. I believe every person is made more capable of achieving their dreams in life by learning how to motivate and inspire other people. Nevertheless, I do not condone or respect the kind of grasping, self-aggrandizing behaviour exhibited by people who see leadership chiefly as a means of satisfying their own needs. The best leaders I have ever worked for have been those whose chief concern lay outside of themselves – and who, as a result, lead because they felt it was the right thing to do, rather than the most expedient.
I am a leader, and proud of it. Yet I do not pretend that I can, or should, lead in all situations. I lead when it is appropriate to lead, and follow when it is appropriate to follow. We each have specific gifts, and when those are needful we have a responsibility to step forward and lead for the benefit of everyone around us.
When we step forward and take charge when we are not the right people for the job, we destroy the very thing we pretend to serve.
About James – At just 27 years of age, James Tollefson is veteran of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and has received 3 US Army Commendation Medals for valor. He is passionate about providing good leadership. “There are few things on this planet that do more to liberate the creative and noble impulses in humankind than good, honest, decisive leadership. I want to provide that kind of leadership and I read and train and think constantly to improve myself”. You can read more of James ‘writings here and follow him on Twitter.