non-Leadership in Risk

non-Leadership in Risk

imageI always get amazed at the portrayal of leadership as some trivial form of populism. The poster child for this trivial and populist nonsense has got to be the ‘leadership from a dancing guy video’ . The voice over and video confirms such a simplistic definition of leadership one would think that lemmings make the best followers.

In the MiProfile survey we often ask questions about perceptions of leadership, following and organizing. What surfaces most often in the results demonstrates that people expect leadership to be simple, binary and easy. They don’t want to know about the complexity of intractable problems, moral dilemmas, challenges of competing values, the politics of groups and egos, the challenges of social dynamics or the risk associated with black and white decision making. The MiProfile results show that people most often see slow decision making as weakness, indecision as a lack of leadership and ‘gun-ho’ decision making as good. I recently read dozens of people lauding praise on this video on Linkedin as an exemplar of leadership.



So let’s see how this video demonstrates non-leadership.

  1. The dancing guy provides no vision – leadership requires vision
  2. The movements made by require no skill and lack sophistication – people only follow when leaders create meaning and purpose in following.

  3. People mimic the dancing guy and copy – copying is not following.

  4. Leadership is never established quickly in 3 minutes – it takes time to ‘craft’ and ‘create’ true following.

  5. Leadership is not about the ‘guts’ to look stupid – people don’t follow unless the vision makes sense.

  6. Quick and simple is not good – true leadership knows that decision making is complex and simplistic thinking is dangerous.

  7. Crowd mentality is not ‘good’ – groupthink can be dangerous.

  8. Acting high as if on drugs is not attractive – leaders know that followers want stability, inspiration and sustainability.

  9. It’s obvious the scene is ‘staged’ – leaders don’t fake following but rather create and inspire following.

  10. A group of lemmings is not a movement – mindless copying has a life span of a few minutes whereas genuine following is founded in belief, values and understanding.

Non-leadership seeks confirmance and conformance, a disaster for leadership in risk. The questions of the followers (being free to ask why is critical for true followership.

People who cannot welcome Y, don’t lead, but rule. Then when the turbulence comes and one wants independent safety leadership in the field, lemmings don’t know what to do.

If you want to learn more about the following-leading dynamic perhaps have a read of my latest book

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long

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Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

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