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Led Poisoning

The best cure for bad leading is a good dose of following.

This story appears in the January 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If there's one subject I dread writing about, it's leadership. What else has been as overdone? Just look in the "leadership" section of any bookstore. You have your The Leadership Engine, The Heart of a Leader . . . not to mention "The Leadership Secrets of" everyone from Attila the Hun to Charles Manson. But with all that reading, how will you ever get around to leading?

And who follows all these leaders we're creating? After all, isn't a leader someone people follow? Authority isn't a thing. It's an interpretive process that, while tangible, resists the solidity of a thing. Weak leaders can't wait to make it solid-hence scepters, big chairs, executive washrooms, etc. Real leaders don't need to assert their authority; people just naturally follow them. Think Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

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