What is the difference between Good Leadership and Bad Leadership?
Most of the time that people ask this question I think they are looking at people who are leading toward Bad things. Whether it is leading to disobey, rebel or mutiny.
The interesting thing is that when the logic of this argument is followed through you have to call Hitler a Bad leader. Now I think most people would agree that what Hitler did was of a hideous nature. I would not differ, however this is a dissection of the leadership and I want to point out an issue here that seems to be overlooked.
Morality in Leadership
Most of the times that someone would label leaders as bad I think it would be more accurate to call them immoral. Now each person has a standard of morality. Even if they claim there is none. That just means that they decide what is right and wrong for them. When a particular leader begins heading in a direction it is in line with what they believe to be moral. If that standard happens to be lower than mine, I label them immoral. You see how that works.
So Hitler, therefore, was an immoral leader. I say this based on the fact that I believe his standard of morality to be lower than mine. I believe his actions to be wrong. This then makes him an immoral leader as opposed to a moral one.
Good and Bad
That all being said, being a BAD leader then, is precisely about effectiveness. The effectiveness of the leader is what makes them either good or bad, not their morality. When we look at their effectiveness we have to understand that this then changes our view and understanding of some leaders in history.
To continue with our illustration of Hitler, the question becomes “Was he effective.” The answer I believe is yes. He mobilized thousands of people all over Europe to act in line with a common goal. To move in a direction that he set before them. While ultimately he was defeated, he was an extremely effective leader. This makes him a highly effective immoral leader.
The difference is Simple.
A moral leader could be extremely ineffective and therefore be a bad leader.
An immoral leader could be extremely effective and be a good leader.
This can be confusing, I know, however this keeps a focus that we need to be sure is a continual two-faceted objective. We need to be pursuing BOTH to be effective as well as moral. If you will take one without the other, which one will it be? Your answer reveals your character.
What this means to you.
Decide which one is more important. The goal is both to be effective and moral, but in the event that you may only have one. You will sacrifice one for the other, which one will you lay on your altar? If you think that this will never happen, think again. Do not leave yourself to decide when the time comes. Critical things need to be processed before they come to pass. This is of a critical nature.
3 thoughts on “On Matters of Effectiveness”
I choose to be effective and moral. But having to choose only one, moral. 🙂
Good distinction that you draw. I think people overlook this too much.
Agreed! Being moral would lead to effectiveness as a by-product, wouldn’t it?
Hitler was an incredible leader, as you stated above his effectiveness was unbelievable. His morality can only be described in its entirty using some choice language. Good point Tim, thanks for the accurate observation and needed challange.