***The following blog post is not meant to be directed at a certain person nor element nor class. It is filled with my opinions backed by my observations and my suddenly cynical outlook. Please don’t take it personally.
That’s a great way to start a blog post, isn’t it? My thoughts have been eating at me and this is what they gave me once I sat down to put it on paper. Enjoy
Everybody in this world needs a leader. As a generation, we need a leader. As a population as a whole, we need a leader. As a singular person, I need someone to follow.
Each movie we discussed today in class has a leader figure in it. Star Wars has multiple, School of Rock has Dewey, Radio has Coach Jones, The Kings Speech has Bertie, his wife and Lionel, and Braveheart has many, including William Wallace. My point is that each one of these movies is a great story, but the characters make the story. Everybody loves watching them lead and people can even end up inspired.
That’s always a good thing. I love being inspired and feeling inspired. It’s that “go out and change the world” or “lead the charge against something bad.” Then, in my usual lazy self, I go home and turn on the TV or my Xbox. Nothing changes. That’s on me, though.
Let me get to the meat of what I’m trying to say: It’s awesome to see leaders in the movies and in real life, but we can’t all be leaders all the time. Some of us have to follow otherwise nothing would get done. Styles would clash.
That brings me to a great question that one of the fellows asked after our presentation today. It was “who were the followers,” recognizing that these leaders need followers to be considered leaders anyway.
Personally, I like taking charge when it comes to group work. So when another member of my group took charge for the leadership film, at first I had a little issue with it because our styles differ a little. But then I sat back and observed the way the project was laid out and how it was all coming together and what little issue I had vanished. I saw that even though it wasn’t my way, it wasn’t the highway either. It was my teammate’s show, and she helped lead a pretty damn good presentation.
It was interesting to sit back and watch others lead and delegate because it made me recognize that to succeed, I don’t always need to be a leader. In the movies we saw today, the leaders didn’t always lead (except in Braveheart…Wallace always leads). Sometimes, they let others take the reins. It’s good to for everyone to lead at some point.
Now to my cynical part. It deals with servant leadership. Again, this is cynical and very opinionated.
I feel that there are two types of servant leadership: the actual serve your community type and then the serve behind others type. The first type I have no qualms about. It’s awesome, necessary and a kind that doesn’t go unnoticed by those you help.
The second type of servant leadership is the one I’m concerned with. Servant leadership is defined as a person who serves first and works only to serve then aspires to lead later. In my opinion, it’s a way to brand followers as leaders. In a society that rewards participation for everyone who plays a sport and not in a mood to criticize, calling followers leaders is inaccurate.
They do aspire to lead later, and they know they must serve first. That’s called the order of things. First you have to pay your dues as a follower, an entry level or mid level employee, and then you work your way up and begin leading. I always find it funny that employers want your leadership skills and experience on your resume, but they aren’t hiring you as a leader first. You are getting hired to follow and to learn and then to lead.
Basically, I don’t like the term “servant leadership” when applied as the second definition. It’s called following then making the most of your opportunity, not leading.
The good thing about movies that show leadership is that it shows that some have to earn their leadership before people will follow, like Robert the Bruce in Braveheart or Bertie in The King’s Speech. They follow, and then with help and their learning experience, they lead. In those examples, they are in positions of leadership to start with, but they aren’t leaders until after they serve and earn it.