Are you a Scourged Leader?

March 31, 2020

A surreal situation to a leader is to lead no one.

Something strange, as leadership foresees people to be led. Thus the surrealism of a leadership without people to be led, tormented, isolated. The leader of no one is the caricature picture of those obtuse, detached, self-centered, schizophrenic leaderships.

The leadership role has been discussed since always, from academic manuals until millenarian philosophical manuscripts, including also the ever available fast guides on everything. Particularly, I have dedicated myself to this phenomenon during all my professional life in the last two decades. And some traces of leadership seem to be universal, independently of idiosyncratic preferences or cultural susceptibility.

Let us see five of the most admired traces:

1 - Integrity - firmness of character on universally accepted values, experiencing this sense of direction in all decision making and in all relations.

2 - Influence - relevant character capacity of articulating in favor of only one agenda, balancing losses and gains, mediating conflicts, favoring convergence of interests.

3 - Alterity- to place himself in the place of the other in adverse situations, always with a cozy looking in favor of the comfort of the other, even when taking difficult decisions.

4 - Effectiveness - accomplishment of the agreements with efficiency and effectiveness, balancing interests and generating value to multi-stakeholder, conciliating short and long term agendas.

5 - Humbleness - recognition of the self limitations with constant expansion of consciousness and continuous diligence in minimizing selfish positions.

The scourged leadership does not fulfill these noble requirements. And therefore leads no one.

A clear and transparent signal for the scourged leadership occurs more in situations of stress. Since favorable contexts camouflage weak leaderships only by positive movement inertia, when everybody wins not knowing exactly how, and therefore, comfortable and pleased, they dodge themselves of more crucial talks, minimize more essential reflections.

But crises are excellent detectives of scourged leaderships.

In the eye of the storm, when everyone loses their floor references and their horizon perspectives, the complexity and the ambiguity promote victimization and paralysis, the leaderships are put in xeque all the time. And only the more capable ones survive.

The scourged leader points to the direction that no one follows, presents narratives that no one believes, calls for missions that does not make any movement, awakes unrestricted indifference. The scourged leader isolate himself by putting himself away, which feeds himself with a mix of mind strangeness and strangulation of the will. The scourge of a leadership is very sad to everybody.

The scourged leadership can also result in the institutional scourge itself. After all, the institutions are forged by their dominant leaderships. In face of the disability of these leaders, the proper institutions lose.

In pandemic times, the scourge of leaderships is evident. Some awaken the loathing, others resentent, others the scorn and others yet the desperation.

There are no victorious social groups without extraordinary leaderships. The anarchical models are excellent for articles in specialized magazines and comics. In real life of a social group, leaderships are pivotal for the success or failure.

Therefore, the scourge of the leaderships in national plan is also the proper national scourge.


Daniel Motta is the Founder and CEO of BMI Blue Management Institute, a leading niche consulting firm. He is a global thought leader focused on culture, strategy and leadership. He has a PhD in Economics, MSc in Financial Economics and BA in Economics. He is also an OPMer from Harvard Business School. He is the Managing Director of USA-based VC company White Fox Capital and the Senior Tupinambá Maverick of bossa&etc. He was a co-founder of Brazilian Society of Finance. He currently serves NGO UNIBES as Strategic Planning Principal. He is the author of the best selling books Essential Leadership and book Anthesis. He also has three articles published by Harvard Business Review. He is a Board Member of MASP.