“Leader” is just a label

By Greg Lane




What’s a leader without followers? In high school when I came home and told my mom I wasn’t a leader, she flat-out refused to believe me and did everything she could to convince me otherwise. Later I would learn that I had no idea what I was talking about, but neither did my mother.

“Leaders” are given equations and labels—a leader does this or that, talks this way, looks like this, stands in this fashion, or has this or that personality type. Huge books are written on the subject of being a leader and how anyone can be one if they just change this or that part of their life. The term “leader” is given mythical representations when vague concepts are tied around it, like “leaders inspire others to dream big” and “leaders show the way and open doors.” What’s a big dream and what is “the way?”

This is all malarkey. Burn the self-help books and erase the mental image of a leader having an almost spiritual-like ability to “inspire those around them.” A leader is another human with his or her own quirks or faults. Why can’t a leader simply be just another man or woman that others have chosen to follow? Whether they have chosen their leader out of respect or some other quality, they are still mortal. Too many put their leaders and the concept of leadership on a pedestal. No one is perfect.

Every parent wants their child to be a “leader” because apparently leaders are the most successful individuals. They get to be in control of career situations and social circles. But not everyone should try to be a leader because then everyone runs around thinking they’re the next big cheese and that everyone should listen to them. The end result is everyone smelling like mold. It’s both hilarious and disastrous to look upon a group in which everyone believes he or she is the “boss.” Can you imagine a board meeting where each member shows up with their own agenda, each of them conflicting with the others? It’s a fury of passive-aggressive complaints and post-it notes.

Through and through, not everyone can be a leader, and that’s okay! If every parent is telling their child that he or she is meant to lead, to be special and great, then we gain an abundance of delusional individuals that have no idea what constitutes a leader. The world needs followers to weed out all the maniacs that claim to be leaders and to support the few who are worth following.

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