I'm a mechanical engineer with an interest in writing short fiction, gardening and copy editing.
During my passage through life, I've concluded that the greatest flaw I've come upon, outside of myself, is the lack of genuine leadership. A lack of good leadership seems to be a constant thread through the story of humankind and is central to most of our greatest mutual disasters. For what it is worth, what follows is a bit of what I've learned in my passage through a number of engineering companies.
The world, and the companies for which I have worked, are desperate for leadership. In their desperate need, they will latch on to anyone who exudes some semblance of leadership qualities. Some have leadership qualifications, others don't.
There is a hierarchy of leadership. You might imagine a pyramid that represents the mass of people in some position of leadership. At the very pinnacle of the leadership pyramid are the genuine leaders. Beneath those are a body that might be called "managers." Beneath those are the largest and the most base group I call the "clerks."
The leaders, occupying the top most of the pyramid, seem to have been formed from an early age for their assignment. They are bright, they are intensely interested in their field of endeavor, and they show great merit and potential. Unfortunately, they might constitute at most 10% of the leadership hierarchy.
Beneath the true leaders are a body I call the managers. These are people who might rise to the highest level of leadership, if they work hard, are groomed by the company, and have natural talents. I think of managers as "mass-manufactured-leadership", as this cadre seem to be suited to a time fifty or more years prior when the repetitive operations required by the conditions of mass-manufacturing suited their rise. The managers might constitute 40% of the leadership hierarchy.
At the bottom of the leadership pyramid are the base group I call the "clerks." Although they occupy the lowest portion of the talent pyramid, they are unfortunately very numerous, and constitute as much as half of the leadership cadre. They have little talent, and know they it; they desire security first and foremost; they will follow whatever path to the security goal that might be laid out, regardless of its consequences for the company and the others that they mislead along the way. I'm sure they are nice people and they are kind people, as I have met many, but they have little talent. They are the material of which fascism is made. That being said, it is only fair to repeat what others have said before, and I paraphrase, "Evil wears a banal face."
The top 10% are hard-pressed by their workload, responsibilities, and duty, but are very valuable. The 40% are useful and might be able to dance in the same manner as the best, and the bottom 50% are the "trouble-makers". I don't mean to suggest that they, the clerks, should be on the short list of those who must go. I mean to suggest that the companies that employ them should first recognize their limited talent and work to replace them with something better as the rest of us deserve better.
While these are observations of some guy who passed through a number of engineering companies and whose observations might be dismissed as specific for those circumstances, I beg to differ. The history of humanity and the long string of disasters that have befallen us are often the product of the lack of competent leadership. True leadership is rare, pseudo-leadership is common, and phony leadership is dangerous. We all need to learn to discern between the types.
I will end with a few characteristics you will find in true leaders.
They are capable of hitching almost anybody up to the plow and getting work out of them. They do not resort to threats, cajolery, or intimidation. They do not gather about them a group of sycophants, although those people might be drawn to them. They reject praise...
Good luck, and more to come...