I confess: I used to consumed every definitive “leadership” book that I could get my hands on.
What if you’re in a position to lead, I wondered, but you don’t have the skills or traits or qualities that the experts say you need? Or the time, energy, and resources to cultivate them fast enough?
No experts seemed to answer that question, so I moved on.
Now I find myself in a class dedicated solely to leadership, reading texts on the topic every single day. It weighed on me for about 5 minutes.
Then I remembered that I’m about 10 years more experienced now. I’ve got my 10,000 hours behind me, so I can shrug off the misery and say what I really think:
The idea of leadership is overrated.
I’m not inadequate, the literature is.
When it comes to trying to make the world a better place, who really cares if you’re a good leader? Honestly.
Should we expect ordinary, flawed people to sit on their hands because they don’t have the classic traits of great leaders? Screw that.
I’d rather try to do something that I think is important and right and valuable and fail at it, then go do something less ambitious because I’m not a “good enough” leader for the job.
The act of leadership is important, sure. It’s world-changing. It’s a fascinating topic … for historians.
If you’re trying to do something important today, then the idea of leadership is a distraction. It's irrelevant.
Just put your head down and do the best you can. History can decide if you were a true leader - you’ve got more important things to think about.