Long-time blog pal the strategist has been posting on the recurring theme of Leadership as of late. He has two worthy posts What can Chuang Tzu tell us about leading people? and Where can you find good books about leadership? that anyone interested in leadership should go read.
The first post emphasizes the role of a leader as a facilitator: A leader must “create or shape situations where people succeed through their own initiative and effort.” The second post is chock full of resources on leadership that do not use that specific term in the title, and a further discussion of the term itself.
A couple of years back we had a lively discussion on leadership that Peter himself took part in. It might be interesting to see if and how views have changed.
In his latest book Tribes, the famous marketer Seth Godin makes an important distinction between leaders and managers:
Leaders have followers. Managers have employees.
Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.
I think this could definitely extend to military and political leadership. Godin’s point is a manager’s role is that of increasing efficiency within the current paradigm. Leaders on the other hand, break with the past.
Furthermore, Godin stresses in his book that in this day and age anyone and everyone can be a leader of their own movement, if they are willing to take the initiative. In our field this is evidenced both by super-empowered individuals like Osama bin Laden, and the Strategic Corporals on the ground all over the world. I also hope it can evidenced by our current political leaders soon, because it always seems that blog posts on leadership are compelled to refer to the bygone works of Churchill, Sun Tzu and Xenaphon.