Leadership can be learned, at least by those who have the self-knowledge, inner strength and intelligence to see what works and what does not. -Will Hutton
Everywhere you turn today you hear and read about lack of leadership. Political pundits decry the lack of leadership in the US, the UN, the UK Parliament, California, Greece. Sports critics blog and talk about lack of leadership in the locker room, on the field, in the front offices, in FIFA and the International Olympic Committee. Unions blame the lack of leadership for poor employee motivation and engagement. Business analysts blame poor competitive performance on lack of leadership.
It’s no wonder there’s a lack of leadership the world over. We don’t teach leadership!
We teach economics, math, sports skills, music, languages. We even teach poker skills, chess, computer skills for luddites, cooking with Jamie and Delia. There are classes and education on just about everything, except leadership!
What I’ve learned in my 60+ years on this planet is that blaming and complaining get you nothing but sympathy (and not for very long, either). It’s time to stop complaining about the lack of leadership and start doing something about it.
I propose we develop a mandatory leadership curriculum for all school children. We shouldn’t just be teaching leadership in business colleges or MBA courses. We should have a leadership curriculum that begins at the beginning, in pre-school, carries on through every grade as mandatory (like PE or Gym) right on up through all levels of compulsory education.
Leadership is not just for politicians, or business people, it’s for everyone to understand and internalize. Children need to learn the differences between positive leadership and negative leadership. Right now kids can tell you all about Lady Gaga or the Black-eyed Peas but not much about the difference is leadership between Adolf Hitler and Gandhi. If asked, most kids will equate leadership with a way to make money! Is it any wonder we have nations of bystanders and observers, content to sit and watch X-Factor, America’s Got Talent and Dancing with the Stars rather than taking active leadership roles in their communities, local and national governments?
Starting all children on a progressive compulsory curriculum of leadership is the only way to develop the leaders that our fragile world so urgently needs. It will teach them to make more positive choices based on fundamental human principles and informed understanding rather than what mass media, social media or the local drug dealers promote as the “right” choices.
Instead of endless debates and weak proclamations, the UN should take the lead to develop a curriculum of leadership. And it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time out. Like all good endeavors it will evolve and improve as we get feedback and see what works and what doesn’t.
Now the question is, does the UN (or anyone else for that matter) have the leadership courage to get started?
Tight Lines . . .
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