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“9: Why do you listen to 1?
5: A group must have a leader.
9: But what if he’s wrong!
-5 looks down baffled with no answer-“
I was watching the animated movie “9”, which I quite enjoyed, and those lines inspired me to write about a topic that has always interested me and at times even disturbed me. “Leadership”.
Let’s not get into the statement “A group must have a leader” because in my opinion that’s debatable, and I’m sure that any one of you out there who has the urge to constantly follow a (/any) leader, must have a million justifying reason but the fact remains that it’s a matter of personal preferences. However, I do agree that in certain situations, one person must lead in order to avoid chaos. My debate is on WHO would make a leader!
I live in the Middle East, occasionally in Lebanon (my home country), where the concept of leadership is often flubbed (☚ word of the day – flubbed: messed up, screwed up, destroyed, ruined, etc.). If you watch regional/international news (which I avoid with great passion), you must have heard of Lebanon and its many political dilemmas due to the many leaders and parties, each trying to take over and prove their alleged rightfulness. Now don’t take that as a statement that “we suck and you rock!”. I know every country has its problems, but I’m in no position to judge something I haven’t experienced firsthand (PREJUDICE IS BAD!).
Now let’s head to the source of the problem as to what makes a leader worthy of being a leader (before you think to yourself “oh this is going to be one of those boring theses”, it’s not! It’s going to be fun and you’ll get a treat at the end.).
According to the very general definitions you would find for “Leader” or “Leadership”, a leader is a person or thing (e.g.: an organization) that rules, guides, and inspires others. Well I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds pretty vague and subjective.
Let’s try to search for “Leadership attributes” for more accurate results:
Good luck reading them all to know what would make a leader! Or you can just keep on reading and get an idea based on my perspective.
One result that I found a bit reliable is this right here:
The 11 critical attributes of leadership are listed below:
1. Unwavering Courage (in some cases, courage is inapplicable.)
2. Self-Control (you’d have to know the leader personally to be able to judge on this one)
3. A keen sense of justice (based on what law?!)
4. Definiteness of decision (what about the quality or rightness of the decision?!)
5. Definiteness of plans (What about commitment to execution?!)
6. The habit of doing more than paid for (Is there an extent to what he/she is being paid to do?!)
7. A pleasing personality (Even if it’s just an act?!)
8. Sympathy and understanding (Again, a close knowledge is necessary as so not to fall for stories)
9. Mastery of detail (one side-note: in Lebanon, we have ministers heading ministries totally irrelevant to their experience and background. Not much mastery of detail there! Like a car mechanic fixing a spaceship.)
10. Willingness to assume full responsibility (So he/she is willing, but will he/she commit when $#!+ happens!?)
11. Cooperation (Is it really cooperation or an exclusive club of plotters?!)
Answer this in full honesty: Do you look into all of those attributes before committing yourself to a leader? (Yes? What? I can’t hear you!). It is surely hard to investigate and have certain proof of all those attributes, but don’t just simply follow a leader who looks impressive because he/she has many other followers. Don’t just blindly trust a leader and follow his actions with complete obedience without having an objective sense of reasoning. Leaders are human and thus bound to make mistakes at times even if they were supermen/superwomen (BTW Superman is dead, if you haven’t read so yet.)
Where am I going with this?
Be your own leader first. learn to have the above attributes and be the best you can be as a person. No one is better than you as a human (unless you are an evil villain), but some can outshine you with their actions. Thus, learn from their actions, imitate, modify and originate, but never just follow to be in the herd!
If you find yourself with an urge for a role model, investigate, question, and always reason. Don’t just trust what other followers are saying even if they were your best friends, or wife/husband, which brings me to my next point.
Have some guts and stand up for what is right. Don’t just stand up to what your leader thinks is right and don’t defend him/her when you know he/she is wrong. Just follow the leader’s singular actions, one at a time, rather than the leader himself/herself.
Conveniently and coincidently, I just came across this quote -watching the movie Zeitgeist, that was referred to me by a friend- that directly fits my point:
“They must find it difficult… those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority.
– G. Massey, Egyptologist”
Now, this isn’t a conclusion, because I still want to hear from you as to who you consider as a leader/row model (in any industry, profession, age, dead or alive, etc.), and why or how he/she inspires you.
And don’t ask me whom I consider as a leader. That position is going to be vacant until I am proven wrong or I have better alternatives, because no matter what the case is, NEVER appoint a leader by default!
P.S.: As for the treat, I consider knowledge to be the biggest treat. If you don’t agree then you shouldn’t have been here on the first place =), but you’re still welcomed.
I have only been on Twitter for few days and, oh boy, it has been a great experience. However, it would have been a SUPERB experience if it wasn’t for all the glitches I’ve noticed from professional business tweeters. PEOPLE, you need to have tweetiquette -Twitter Etiquette, in all fairness, I thought of this term before I googled it to see if it already exists. Oh well, I’m not the only person trying to be original out there-.
Just from observing businesses behavior on Twitter for the past few days, I have jotted down some punctilios -a new word I learnt today- that you, as a business promoter, need to follow if you want to gather and keep happy followers:
Punctilio #1 Mix business with pleasure, that’s today’s “must-do”:
We all know that you are mainly on Twitter so you can promote your business or blog or whatever it is you are so proud of (and yes we are proud of you too, mostly!) but before you want to add some professional value, you need to add some social value. Remember it’s a “social” network first, not a “business” network. Don’t make all your tweets about headlines and news from your business/blog, sure include some, but remember to also share some fun tweets, or some useful tweets that aren’t related to what you’re promoting. Tweet to show the human side of your business, not the robotic news-feeding side (That’s what RSS feeds and Ad spaces are for!).
Punctilio #2 Drop the direct auto-messages:
It was exciting for me to get direct messages to my inbox after having only been there shortly, thinking I raised some people’s interest. Then I found out that all the direct messages I’ve been getting were just automated, and impersonal like “Thanks for following, we look forward to reading your tweets (Really? Are you? What’s the last thing I tweeted about then?!). Visit this site/blog etc.”. First of all, if you feel the need to send an automated message to your followers then can you please make it a bit more personal! Like add the follower’s name saying “Hey there Manal…”, now that would make me feel special believing you took the time to read my name and know who you are addressing and would encourage me more to visit a link you give me. Sure it might be hard work to do that with every follower you get, so only choose some per day, and if you’re not willing to do the work then lay off the messages. One other thing, I think it would be more appropriate to send your links on a second direct message rather than the first. How would you feel if someone asked you to do something for him/her on the first day you meet!
Punctilio #3 Put some “soul” in your retweets:
You might want to save yourself some trouble or spice up your feed by retweeting tweets that would interest your followers, or by tweeting links of something you read, but please don’t just tweet a dry formal headline. How about you include your comment on the retweet first! Something that makes it apparent that there is a social human being out there with opinions and thoughts and love for sharing… Don’t be afraid to show some humor or wittiness (or emoticons =D) in your comments when appropriate. I have more fun reading posts/tweets/comments that show the reader’s sense of humor/cynicism/emotionality and that motivates me to retweet them myself.
Punctilio #4 Don’t repeat your tweets:
I know that it could be hard to find great content or insight to tweet every few minutes, so you might feel the urge to retweet some of your previous tweets again, but try to resist that! I’m sure it is interesting enough to repeat, but there are followers (and they are many) who are always up-to-date with the latest tweets and make sure to read them all. It would look bad when they go through the really long feed only to see that your repeated tweets are filling it up! I’m sure you’re thinking that it’s best to repeat your tweets for the new followers who are increasing by the minute, but some of those would go through your tweets history and might notice the repetition. If you feel that the content is so important that you need to increase awareness to it by repeating it, then choose a long time interval, like repeat the tweets every 24 hours, not every hour!
Those are some of the punctilios that I have for now, and I’m sure other enthusiastic followers have more as well (if you are one then please add yours in your comment). And remember, failing to abide by tweetiquette would risk you losing followers. In fact, I’m going on Twitter right after publishing this post to unfollow some of you =).
It seems that our notion of heroes have changed in the past few years, mainly heading to the dark side. Has anyone noticed that Superman is absent from the heroism scene? No hit movies (yes he returned but no body cared!), series (I am not counting Smallville because he is yet to call himself Superman and fly around with a red cape), or cartoons even! Yes, superman became very uncool. Who wants an alien pretending to be a normal human being as a hero! We want dark human beings who aren’t normal with super powers. Vampires are what’s “in” now: Twilight, New Moon, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, etc. It’s all about a hero who is a vegetarian nice living-dead vampire; sure because it would be too sick to love a vampire who kills humans. Even Spiderman had to go dark in his last feature to appeal to the masses.
Now the question is: how do we use that trend for our advantage? Simple. We hire vampires as our marketing people. We feature vampires using our products. We create products customized for vampires and vampire lovers. We open social communities for vampires with restaurants that offer “Tru Blood” and open buffet from willing volunteers. We maximize the marketing and creating of night life services…
Oh wait… VAMPIRES DON’T EXIST! Alas, that would’ve been a successful marketing niche.
I wonder what the next trend would be… zombies of intelligence, advocating for zombie rights?!
However, since I’ve started this blog I haven’t come to decide on a topic to discuss, not because of the lack of topics but because of my other habit of over-thinking where I need to plan and think of something thoroughly down to the last details before I can do it. Then I just remembered something I read in an article a few days ago about being a better copywriter. The author basically said that writers have to stop that inner voice in their heads that tells them what to write or what not to write, how to write it, and most importantly that they’re not good enough to do something. He also added that to get the writing flowing, they should just write about anything until they get inspired. What I liked most in the article was the very beginning:
“We all have the potential to create whatever reality we could possibly imagine. Impossible is a word that limits our actions and behavior.”
Strangely enough that was what I have always believed in. I truly believed and advocated that our world is only made by our own perceptions. Something is only as sweet as you think it as or sour as you believe it is. Everything is possible because when you can’t control everything around you (and most certainly you can’t), you can at least control your thoughts and views. When you truly master this ability, the world becomes a different place “in your eyes”.
However, recently this has been something I doubted, and therefore lost the ability to do. For a little while perhaps I had that inner voice controlling me and my actions, but now I want to gain power and claim back my spirit (LOL I know I made it all too dramatic). I need to turn off my inner editor that’s been editing away my life and start playing a bigger part in it, it’s my life after all! And how am I going to be doing that? By blogging about nothing as something to blog about.
Sometimes the most precious thoughts are precious not in their value but in the fact that they were shared, and heard. Could that be the reason why when we are angry, we scream at someone that we hate him/her, even though we don’t, using that as a cue to let him/her sense what angry thoughts infest our minds? I would leave that to another post on some other day.