They tell us that there are leaders and then there are followers, so you should be a leader. We begin to hear this message in childhood until we have proven ourselves worthy of college or snagged a great job. The drill goes something like this: fake it till you make it. But nobody has taught us about what good leadership is and is not. We can have well-trained social engineers who manipulate us for personal gain, but is that best for all of us? Some personal observation of government dysfunction may answer that question best.
Take a look at this Smithsonian Magazine article entitled The Pros to Being a Psychopath by Amy Crawford. It discusses the research of Kevin Dutton, Research psychologist at the University of Oxford. The premise is that properly channeled psychopathic traits may help transform people into skilled professionals and leaders. Aren’t psychopaths currently drawn towards career paths that allow them to exercise their natural urges through socially acceptable roles? The Good Psychopath you consider why your dentist chose his or her profession. It will also offer up some insight into what might be done with that one percent of the Canadian population claimed by renowned psychopathy expert Dr. Robert Hare’s research to be the Psychopath’s Among Us.
At the same time, it makes sense that we instill values of positive leadership into our youth. They will need more positive role models and less negative ones, and their parents should obviously be at the top of that list. We need to guide them into positive and equality-based relationships with siblings and peers. They must build their own moral code, but we can help shape it by having our own moral code. The values we deem important matter too: we should put more weight on ideals such as respect, honesty, cooperation, empathy, and optimism. Achievement for the sake of success will need to focus less on the “ends” and more on the “means” to promote internalization of positive motivation vs. negative competition.
In short, we are seeing imbalances of power at an increasingly higher rate than we have in decades, and that is not good for anybody. Perhaps it is time to redefine “success” as something you do for social benefit rather than for yourself. Some would label this “servant leadership,” because leaders are not our bosses – they serve as an inspiration for all of us.