Take Me To Your Leader

One of the cliches about alien interaction with human beings is that aliens would come to visit earth and ask to be taken to our leaders. Let us imagine ourselves in the point of view of the aliens. How would an alien recognize a leader? Would an alien think that the loudest person was the leader? This might be true if the aliens came from a society that valued outgoing speech, but a society that viewed speaking as the habit of a second-in-command and that viewed silence as the prerogative of a leader, then they would consider a more silent person as a leader (for example, this was true in Lystra in Acts 13, where the talkative Paul was thought of as a personification of Hermes, while the more introverted Barnabas was thought of as a personification of Zeus). The way in which we see the world and the people in it will govern the way we view others as leaders or not.

This question is more than merely idle fancy, though I am not necessarily opposed to idle fancy as a matter of principle. I often ponder over what qualities are seen as leadership potential in different institutions. What makes others see someone as a potential leader? Different institutions, based on different mentalities, will value different qualities. Most institutions would probably value those who were quick at understanding the rules of the game and the culture and be able to help others (making life easier on managers). Most institutions would also probably value those who were generally law-abiding and rule following who did what they were supposed to do and generally did not bother others or cause a lot of trouble. One could easily see that a quick thinking and pro-social but generally easygoing person, especially if they have a great deal of flexibility, is going to be seen as having a great deal of leadership potential.

I often find it striking how different people and institutions judge leadership potential. For example, today I (along with three other people) was told that based on the leadership potential I have shown over the past couple of weeks, I was getting promoted to one of the lead positions at the job where I recently started, with a raise in pay along with a task that included more teaching and guidance and answering questions and less talking on the phone, even if it will mean some interesting negotiations over what shifts we will have to cover and when, given that most of us wanted to avoid the heavy traffic during the day. It must also be discussed and negotiated what sort of overtime, if any, we will have in order to cover the necessary time. That said, I found it striking and pleasing (if not entirely surprising) that leadership potential in certain areas could be seen very quickly. At the very least, the opportunity to lead and manage is something that I think could definitely be of good use, especially since I would like to have a career track in that particular field.

In contrast to this, my desires to find a way to develop leadership potential in other institutions have run into much trouble. Perhaps I am viewed as being a bit more troublesome in some situations and by some institutions than in others. To be sure, religious absences could be seen by some (and has been seen by some jobs) as being troublesome, even if that does not appear to be the case here (in large part, I assume, because my productivity is very high, so the results are good, and a lot can be dealt with when results are good). On the other hand, in some institutions and situations being willing to help others and be involved in giving counsel and advice to others, and seeking an opportunity to be outspoken is viewed as being presumptuous and a bit threatening. Much depends on the context. I am certainly appreciative of the opportunities that I get to practice and hone my abilities at leadership while also helping others, and I hope those opportunities manage to pay off in terms of skill as well as honor and respect and well-being. Time will tell.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Take Me To Your Leader

  1. This is fantastic news! Congratulations to you. It just goes to show that, while the qualifier skills for leadership are objective in nature, one’s perception of who possesses them is subjective. I’m very happy that room for growth is being offered to you–and so early in the process. As you stated, time will tell, and I will continue to hold good thoughts for you!!!

  2. Pingback: Johannes Factotum | Edge Induced Cohesion

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