[October 29, 2019] All humans need to search for the meaning of life. Like all others, leaders, too, need something to sustain them; to provide them with proper motivations and make them feel whole. And this sustaining meaning comes only from the adoption of responsibilities.
I’ve discussed the importance of the search and acceptance of responsibilities several times in the past (for a few articles, see links here, here, and here). I believe that only through accepting difficult responsibilities can we truly know ourselves, know satisfaction, and experience life to its fullest.
Leaders are social creatures, too. Just recently, I stumbled upon Volume II of the Memoirs of Gen. W.T. Sherman (of U.S. Civil War fame). What struck me when I read the chapter of lessons from the war was how the network of leaders in Sherman’s social circle helped him. They helped Sherman better understand the war and keep going through the horrors that defined the “modern” battlefield.
Life is full of tragedy. Leaders have the responsibility, for example, to be the bulwark on which they help defend against disaster and the terror of evil that seems never to abate. Leaders are there to rally to people to a common cause. That “cause” is part and parcel to what makes leaders who they are. Tragedy can be what defines the pinnacle of ability and therefore marks their leadership as one of success or failure.
“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” – Henry Ford, an American captain of industry1
I always liked this quote from Henry Ford. He seemed to understand that leadership needs something more than just “doing good things” and rallying people to a good cause. He noted on several occasions that leaders must have a method of leadership that is driven by a passionate desire. Without that sustaining meaning, they will drift into obscurity.