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Thursday, 08 January 2015 18:06

The Most Successful Leaders Have No Followers

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Skinny Love

There are troubled songs that transport you to some places that you could not even imagine. There are songs that awake your senses and make your heart beat faster. There are songs that simply revive the purity of your soul. There are songs that are so difficult to bear, because they have arduous interpretations. Skinny Love by Bon Iver is one of them. No matter if you prefer the original version or the cover version by Birdy, there is no doubt that this song pours out a torrent of suffering. This is not a randomly selected song. This is a song that recently made me reflect among other things, on how love could never be too skinny or too fat.

Love is endless, immeasurable and inexplicable. Love could never possibly be skinny. So many interpretations of these lyrics exist. Each human being who listens to Skinny Love creates their own understanding of these few lines. We all boldly add our personal touch to this song. Some people talk passionately about anorexia, suicide, or lost love, while others share tragic ideas of miscarriage, depression, broken love, or malnourished love. The beauty of this whole thing is that it really does not matter: everyone is completely right in their own explanation. There are absolutely no wrong representations. Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation. Everyone is free to build a sumptuous world of assumptions based on their unique sensitivity.

Indeed, it does not matter what Bon Iver said about the lyrics, because our own understanding and our unique feel of Skinny Love is more significant. His explanation of the song has little value in the end, because the way the lyrics and the music move us is more crucial. The way we slowly close our eyes to feel the weight of our tormented lives is what really matters. Once the lyrics are sung, we fiercely capture them and jealously make them our own. These lyrics become ours to protect. They are ours in a way that nobody would comprehend. We conceive a precious interpretation that resonates with these melodic words within us. Songs give us the power to interpret them in any way we feel, and offer us a deeper sense of connection with the world.

We experience the intensity of the song in our own way, because we truly believe in it. This is the power of appropriation. We unconsciously deny ourselves from following the singer's explanation of the lyrics. In fact, we prefer to follow our gut feeling, because we deeply want to lead the music and guide its torturous signification within ourselves. This is the power of leading ourselves to believe that we know. We know the true meaning. We personally uncover the pure meaning of such suffering and its impact on ourselves as unique human beings. We poured a part of ourselves into the song and experience the feel of our heart distilled into powerful emotions. We slowly lead ourselves to construct a priceless meaning of the song. All human beings have this unique and natural ability of leading that no societal domination will ever imprison.

We all like to lead, we were all born leaders, not followers

We all lead by actions, thoughts and words in our lives. Everybody is born a leader. Let's all think about the first hours of our precious lives when we communicated our needs to our parents: we simply led. We excelled in being a leader and instinctively led our loved ones for many months. We all have leadership abilities that need to be nourished. All human beings are born leaders until the fatal day they face their first traumatic limitation. This unfair disgrace is wrapped in pure restriction. The first barrier wrongly identifies some human beings as better than others, not different but better. The first hierarchical classification puts some people on the top and others on the bottom. There are also many best selling stories that proudly sell out the fake idea that some people are born to be leaders and others sentenced to be followers.Then, one day the first radical distinction between those who are supposed to manage and those who are supposed to be managed comes. In fact, there is no need to expand on the explosion of domination management in organizations. The army of so-called leaders by position who exercise total authority through full directing, controlling, and evaluating with indirect and impalpable repression on others.

We all know that it is always easier to lead others than to lead ourselves. We all suspect that it is more comfortable to guide others, than to guide ourselves. We all secretly know that we require deep reflection to be conducted. We unconsciously postpone it by voluntarily dictating and regulating others that we view as peers, subordinates, followers... All those that are way more than we think.

Indeed, the distinction between leaders and followers is pointless. The continual debate between leaders and managers is irrelevant. The recurring debate about if being different means being better or worse. Human beings are unique and so marvelously diverse, but they are not static bodies and minds. They should not be labelled, wrongly judged or defined by a random organizational position that should be a temporary part of who they truly are. Human beings are not resources to be controlled, evaluated or directed. They are not human resources that we could pack and stock in a cold hangar. People are not resources that we could easily manipulate or dispose of, because they are fully alive. These are human beings with their uniqueness. They are full of ideas, emotions, values, dreams, cultures and they all happen to have a unique life story.

We are all growing, making mistakes, learning and progressing. We are all unique beings who do not passively wait for a savior in disguise to manage, direct or lead us. Human beings are not plain resources to be utilized. They are living sources of amazing life stories that need to be acknowledged and respected.

We are all leading and following, we are all simultaneously trying different roles. Nobody is constantly following or leading. As a matter of fact, followers are not passive, conformist sheep, or alienated people like many are sadly described: They are leaders too. Leadership should not be about hierarchy. Leadership is about building teams of people with leadership abilities who work for a common vision. A vision that is bigger than their own individual success. A vision that will contribute to making this world a little bit better.

To tell the truth, let's forget about these tiny useless debates about managers and leaders, and focus on the role leadership should have in our lives. We all have the responsibility to focus on ourselves and see how we can contribute to make this world a better place. Leadership is not about fame, top position or sick control, but it is about having the wisdom to accept everybody as a potential leader in a team. In other words, it is about having the wisdom to share and respect people as leaders who have diverse leadership skills in order to work together for a common good. Leadership is not about following, giving directions or ego traps. Leadership is about leading ourselves to accept and respect others. We have to lead ourselves and focus on our true values, ethics, knowledge and personality. Leadership is not about leading followers or making people better: Leadership is finally about making yourself a better person. Leadership starts within ourselves like a music with lyrics that we give a personal sense and a unique vision.




Human Beings Development and Leadership


Skinny Love by Birdy

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