What is good leadership I recently asked myself when an acquaintance who is somewhat of an expert explained what the effects of bad leadership on a team, company, agency or group – his points all valid, more so than any I've made on the topic and yet, it begs the question; If we can spot poor leadership or a bad leader, then what is a good leader and good leadership – hmm? Let's discuss this topic for a moment, shall we?
Now then, when we speak of "good leadership" as opposed to bad leadership, that becomes a slippery slope and we need to be quite careful of reality versus political correctness. Some of what they teach in college in Business Communication courses might actually be a nice way to lead, but that will not work for all leadership styles or personalities. In fact for some those methods might cause failures in leadership.
So, what is "good leadership" then? Well, if it is effective leadership and if the scoreboard shows success – we might call it good, even if the cause we might call evil. If Mohammed won 79 battles and was thus considered a profit by Muslims, yet his army raped and pillaged village after village was he a good leader, or a ruthless on? What of Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great? Does history re-write what good leadership is, was, or should be? Should we trust to stand on the shoulders of giants and names of dead white men we were forced to learn, all because an authority of history professor (self-proclaimed) tells us we should? Are not we to question authority, question the leadership and question our history too?
What works and is effective can be called good, but was Steve Jobs a good leader, I'd say not in the political correct sense, but does it matter, look at the accomplishments? Personally, I've seen a number of good leaders whose legacy was squashed after the fact, but during their reign they were golden. How about Hank Greenberg of AIG, Jack Welsh of GE, or presidents whose legacy is cut short regardless of their achievement towards our primary goals in the USA, by the opposing force now in power? History, legacy, and past-leadership is a matter of re-written narratives by the victors of corporate America, the marketplace, or man-made lines drawn on the sand – for now, only to be re-drawn later, the game doth not end.
Is good leadership a moving target? Is it nothing more than perception of those observing or those being led (followership), is it a matter of deception then? Is it image, imagination, inspiration, or something else based on attainment of respect, reputation, and success – circled around an impression of greatness propped up by propaganda? How can we define 'good leadership' is it like one Chief Supreme Court Justice once said about porn – "I can not define it, but I know it when I see it," and so, I leave my readers today with more questions than answers, but without these questions how can we define what a good leader is or what good leadership looks like? Think on it.