If you research leadership, you’ll find virtually all leadership models promoting the concept as something approaching divinity. What we don’t address is the dark side of leadership: the herd mentality it can create in many of us.
For instance, in the February 7, 2011 of The New Yorker, John Seabrook writes in “Crush Point” about a study designed by Iain Couzin of Princeton University and led by Jens Krause at Leeds University. It found that a group of 200 randomly walking people, injected by a few purposeful walkers, ended up following the latter even though they had no idea where these purposeful walkers were going. In a previous post, we also saw people believing leaders over facts.
As a result, leadership will encourage a state of mind in which some, and likely many, followers neither think nor introspect; they just follow. This will occur whether leadership is good or bad. Even a good leader can’t ensure all followers will develop their thinking and questioning skills so they can evaluate what’s best for them. They will need leaders to make decisions for them.
This also explains why confidence can be the tool of the incompetent. It encourages those, who can’t or don’t want to think for themselves, to follow someone with a purpose, no matter what that purpose might be. It plays subtly into the idea that “going somewhere is better than going nowhere.” Thus, people can achieve a purposeful life by following someone, anyone.
In reality, leadership is subjective. As a result, especially if we don’t learn to think for ourselves, we could easily follow leaders who are good for others but not good for the rest us.
Think about it. If not, ask a leader to do it for you.