I live in a part of the world that has housed many self-centred leaders, leaders of great nations, nations I over many years have got to know and love. I am too young to say I have lived under them, but I have seen the fruits of their work.
I do not think these men started off self-centred. I think they were young and passionate about an ideology they believed in. I think they had the best in mind, but along the way somewhere they lost it.
Absolute power corrupts and absolute powerlessness does the same thing. People get power, the taste of power is good, and self-opinion increases. The problem is well known in former communist nations, but also in companies and organizations. Today we call it the ‘one man band’.
Nicloae, Josip and Enver were all young boys with big dreams, dreams about shaping the future for their nations. Not a bad dream, they believed in an ideology, a new way of doing it, they were all born in the same time having similar values. I can believe they were passionate about the future.
They eventually got leadership roles, passions that may only have been a distant dream.
Leadership that gives room for absolute power has always been problematic and will always be problematic
Leadership that gives room for absolute power has always been problematic and will always be problematic – so too for Nicolae, Josip and Enver. For those of us that are old enough, we know these three boys as Nicolae Causeascu, Josip Borz Titu and Enver Horca. Their names are around the world marked with a title I don’t think they dreamed about having. To become a dictator is not something one necessarily dreams about, but they ended up there.
It tells me that there isn’t a great distance from passionate leaders to dictatorship. What is your role? I don’t care what title you have given yourself, but what is your function? Is it an absolute power or is it a leadership that empowers others? The more you empower other people around you the more you move away from the pedestal that you are being set upon or you put your self upon.
The self-centred leader is easy to recognize. Ask yourself “Who have I released in the last four months?” Ask “Who are my team of leaders?”. If you listen, it’s always me, and I, never we and us.
For any organization – church, NGO or company, can give room for self centred leadership if we are not creating a culture and a structure from within that brings power down and where processes are transparent.
These three men did what many insecure leaders would do: they made systems where any whistle blowers would be frozen out or, in their case, even worse. Insecure leaders never trust people around them and therefore can not release others either. It becomes more about control and the end of the story is that you end up as self centred, doing everything your self, focusing all around yourself.
Its not that you can not be self centred and not be able to lead, or to accomplish something. It was Nicolae that lead the nation I live in, and he was able to do some enormous projects, like building one of the largest buildings in the world, making a water channel that is passing close to my backyard, and so on. But it came with a price, for the people of the nation he led and for himself.
Let’s make sure we are leaders that trust and give trust freely to the people we work with. Let’s make sure that we don’t sit on absolute power, but instead have good leadership teams and let us move from “secret police” to daring to release people!
From self centred leadership to releasing leadership!
till next time