Fortunately, people are easily satisfied. Human perfection lives in imperfection. In the first place in a leader.
A leader can hold on to the idea that everything he does is ‘perfect’ anyway, just because he simply is the leader. Such a character accepts no contradiction because that would undermine his leadership position. Clearly: if the leadership position is based on that belief, then the level of true leadership is not very high.
What does ‘the best’ mean?
The essence is found in perception. Perception lies embedded in what it means. So you do not have to be the best to be ‘the best’. Luckily (probably) for you.
What one does expect from you, and should expect from you, and what you can respond to in a heart-warming manner, is to strive for perfection. Not for the sake of yourself, but for the people who want to see you as a leader. This holds your appreciation of them. By making you a leader, you are being asked a question. This is your answer. Bearing your own limitations in mind is a part of it.
Members of a group somehow do want their leader to be ‘perfect’, in a larger than life figure kind of way.
A superhuman. It is about more than just this person of flesh and blood. On the other hand, people also like to know that he is just a mortal creature, human, comprehensible, ‘one of us’. Underneath the tailor-made suit lie the same kinds of feelings and thoughts as the ones that are found inside of us all.
It’s about perception.
People want you to be ‘the best’ within their perception. A role model maybe. A trustworthy individual in any case. This symbolic leadership is actually a very broad concept: a parental figure, a teacher at school, a leader of a juvenile gang, a company leader, even a pop artist as a ‘leader of emotions’ and at a performance as a ‘leader of the crowd’. The image of ‘the best’ is actually incorporated in the more general image of ‘the leader’.
It is hereby important that you keep two things in mind. On the one hand it is OK, interesting even, that you let them get this perception, keep it, cultivate it. It feeds a deeper need.
People do not live on bread and poetry alone, but also on leadership.
Or maybe the latter is more to be regarded as an element of the second last. You are very generous by using your real Open Leadership to serve the people.
On the other hand it is important to always keep in mind that we are dealing with a symbolic meaning. It is all about what lives inside of people and basically less about you as a person. So try to avoid blowing yourself up with this, because otherwise you are de facto no longer the leader but the noose of the mass.
You are allowed to be of flesh and blood.
This aspiration also exists in the minds of the people you are leading: the realisation that you can combine this. It is even considered to be very attractive. It also implicates that you have some sort of reserves regarding yourself. Your star might be flying on its own. Your leadership however only grows from your own person. People need You in your totality for this. Charisma. Your talking comes from within you… or it does not. It is more realistic to say that one develops into a leader rather than one is a leader. It’s organic.
Standing still is not only going backwards. It is dying… as a leader.
One might recognize this common phenomenon from the (pretty much vulgar) press. One minute someone is being praised, the next minute his reputation is crushed. This is simply the sequence of a recurrent pattern. In a kind of cheap way of course. The pattern consists of first applauding a possible leader figure. Then follows the testing of this person. If he does not succeed, he gets disposed of to make way for the next person.
‘The rise and fall of Mr. X.’ That can seriously hurt.
It seems like mere ruthlessness. Though opportunity lurks around the corner. Pain in itself can make someone grow or at least provide the soil for growing. If you have learned your lesson – and even the deeper meaning – in time, then the bump in your road does not even have to be large. It is part of the game. It is interesting to be ready for leadership. What is also very interesting is to be guided throughout the whole process ‘in good days as well as bad days’. In any case it is very pleasant when people look back on what you did and say:
You came, you fell, you stood up again and became ‘the best’.