Is leadership working in our cultures?

April 6, 2010 by The Journey man

After taking a moment to have a look at Leo Salazar‘s video compilation which looked at Dutch leadership and society from various perspectives, Dutch and non-Dutch and about what we could learn from each other, I came away with a few questions of my own, one of which stemmed around the general leadership capabilities of individual members to actually lead. Is it the loudest person instantly becomes the leader of the pack and subsequently takes forward the mantle to change their culture as leader or is there a secret selection process that appoints leaders into their positions of expectant wisdom. Further more once the leader is selected is there a continued development of their skills or is it deemed they no longer need to partake in such menial tasks as personal development due to their status within their cultural environment.

I pondered these thoughts more so as I watched the end of this video compilation where very articulate, well presented individuals informed viewers that one of the reasons why the Dutch leadership culture was something to aspire to was that they had discussions on the way forward, believed that each individual was a leader in their own right and that their process was by no means perfect. They stated change and leadership can be developed by the every day person (if they believe it so).

It is here that I pose another question, if each and every one of us is a leader in our own right (if we believe it so), why do we need to appoint a sole leader at all?

See also

Who has responsibility for changing cultures?


  1. We need leaders to take the responsibility when no other wants to. I think that some of the core values of leadership is – “responsibility” and “courage”.

    You speak of “leader in our own right”. Have you read Covey?


    • Sylvan Clarke

      Thanks for the response
      I have seen Covey’s works but my statement ‘Leader in our own right’ was in reference to the very same statements in Leo Salazar‘s video compilation which looked at Dutch leadership and society from various perspectives.

      I think there are differing levels of leadership within all of us which are magnified when put in a position of authority and responsibility. It’s at this point I began to question genuinely if we only appoint leaders so we can shoot them down in flames when all else fails or is their another more well thought out process of appointing a leader than to speak for the people majority.
      I then went onto to think about what it is that leaders actually do, because it isn’t that the leaders ‘do the do’ so to speak, more is the case the normal everyday person will ‘do the do’.
      So what is it that leaders are supposed to be doing? what do they have that the normal every day leader (if they believe it so) doesn’t have?
      The good work of psychologists gives me an insight into how to become a leader and what makes up leadership skills, but in reality a lot of these skills are not seen, practised or learnt by leaders i have seen which has led me to my earlier question.

      Once again, thanks for the response



  2. I have some questions for you:

    1: How do you define leadership?
    2: What kind of skills is it that you have read about in the work of psychologists?
    2a: and how do you think that we learn those skills?
    3: What do you think leaders are sopposed to be doing?



    • sylvan clarke

      1. That is my question, how can you define leadership? If leaders have the traits/skills why do so many not produce yet the high percentage of normal every day people who lead themselves positively each day produce positive outputs on a more consistent basis.

      2. My point regarding the work of psychologists relates to the theory versus practicality of leadership and not the intricate working mechanisms of leadership, which would take me away from my original blog intention. The point I am referring to is that psychologists have shown there are many variable skills, techniques, strategies and concepts that make up leadership qualities but in reality a lot of these skills are not seen, practised or learned by leaders (although it has been said that leadership traits can also be an inherent trait but yet still falls into the realms of inefficiency in producing positive outputs)

      2a. Again that is my question. Every one learns in different ways whether by inherent factors or social schooling, it is definitely not my intention to state how each individual should learn leadership skills as their are so many factors to take into consideration. But there has been a precedent set for many years whereby we have appointed leaders to speak for the majority, but due to not measuring up in some quarter (due to lack of leadership ability?) we shoot them down in flames when all else fails. So what is it that leaders are supposed to be doing? what do they have that the normal every day civilian leader (if they believe it so) doesn’t have?
      If the appointed leaders have the traits or learned skills why do so many not produce yet the normal every day person does?

      3. Once again that is my question. What is it that leaders actually do? Could be strategic blue sky thinking or a whole host of concepts.

      Advisor, it looks like I am going to have to continue my journey to find out what leaders are supposed to be doing (not in a theoretical sense, more an actual on the ground sense and to delve into what they as leaders have that the normal every day civilian leader (if they believe it so) doesn’t have?



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