(A Playful Look At Leaders And Those They Play Follow The Leader)
BY NOW, the needles (if that’s what they are called) have fallen off the Xmas trees while others wait their turn to be turned into mulch for gardens that will bloom in Spring or be put curbside for the garbage man to toss them into the rear of their tucks to be taken away. The noise makers, party hats, streamers, garland, menorahs and all other remnants of the holiday season (hope yours was a joyous and festive one) have been packed away until next year.
It is now time for the leader to take off his funny costume glasses amongst his other part paraphernalia and become the leader once again. Time to return to being the ‘go to guy’, the guy with whom the buck stops, the guy whose bandwagon those who can’t find their own way turn hitch their lives, careers, etc. too. Yes, the leader recognizes his shadow and takes his place as the head honcho of those he leads for whatever reason.
When it comes down to it that’s a lot of responsibility to take on with nobody to turn to for advice when “leadership skills” take leave of absence. Hence the need for a “right-hand man” who basically is the guy (or gal) who whispers sweet nothings into the ears of the mighty leader to make him or her look right again.
The President (when we have one) has a Vice President (when we have one) in addition a full cabinet stocked with advisors (collectively in this case worth less than a can of corn) to help him navigate the waters of leadership. Without this ensemble, the leader could not lead as there would be no place for him (or her) to turn to for advice.
On the other hand, the “right-hand man” (hand-picked by the leader to exactly as his title states) always has the ear of the leader so that he can get his “charge” functioning smoothly. Great leaders in any endeavor have their “people” to whom they rely upon. No matter how strong or wise the leader may appear he (or she) is only as good as his underlings.
In actuality, it is the right-hand man or supporting cast that run the whole “show.” It is their collective/collaborative thinking that forms the style the leader employs while giving him (or her) his substance. This being the case (I truly believe the statements contained herein are true) instead of being the leader why not be the right-hand man aka alternative “go to guy” who fall all intensive purposes is the leader without being considered to be the leader.
When a leader tries to be a “solo act” (minus advisors and alike) depending on the situation he can be perceived as brilliant (how could anybody have done without his awe-inspiring leadership), so-so (are we sure this guy knows what he is doing) or downright mediocre (where did we find this banana brain or how did he or she find us and how did we allow ourselves to be led by this nincompoop) or any combination thereof. Hence the leader realizing his shortcomings rests his head on the should of those whose job is to support him.
There is no sector in our society today that does not have a leader nor can their value be diminished providing they are indeed leaders who reach, teach, and inspire others. My qualm does not lay in the fact that we need leaders or that true leaders do exist but rather with those who take on this role by taking charge of the lives of those who lack the clarity needed to be their own leader. To be redundant we do need leaders and somebody has to step-up and be that person. When circumstances demand or events such as 09/11 occur people like President George Bush & New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani were strong decisive and righteous leaders who deserved the accolades they were afforded are crucial to restoring the natural order of daily life.
A leader is not a leader when he knows not what shoelace to tie without having to seek out advice or conduct public opinion polls. In instances like these the “support staff” have to keep the leader in an upright position so that his influence is not in any way diminished. This is not leadership rater a show put on by a master marionette or a talented genius leader as was the late Jim Henson.
So here you have it the first pro/anti-leader/pro-right hand man (the unheard voice behind the voice) article just in time for the New Year. I will leave it up to you to come to your own conclusion about leaders while asking you to ponder the question as to wouldn’t it be better to be the right-hand man (or leading man) behind the leader.