This Sunday Dilbert comic strip featuring Dogbert sharing his “research” on leadership ideas hit home. It is certainly funny on the surface, with the executives more attuned to eating cake as a successful leadership practice rather than hard work and diligent preparation.
More important, however, is the transition Dogbert goes through in this Dilbert comic strip. His leadership ideas shift to satisfy the audience. The executives not only WANT the message of how easy successful leadership is, they won’t seek out or settle for leadership that contradict the belief that being a great leader is as easy as following a few simple steps.
The Easy Route to Successful Leadership
If you look at what’s popular and gets the most attention among leadership ideas, it’s clear the “easy route to successful leadership” message is what sells. There seems to be a preponderance of books and articles offering the simple, easy, no-fuss, no-muss three-step formula to successful leadership as ALL anyone would ever have to do. And if a simple leadership ideas formula doesn’t work for you, it’s obviously a flaw in you rather than with the author’s superficial formula.
Personally, I come from a world offering very few examples of the “it’s all simple with no hard work involved” leadership formula working for a prolonged period of time. I can point to many more instances where people who believe in the easy route to successful leadership never attain real success, although they are always ready to embrace the next easy leadership formula. There is also the string of people who apparently ride the “easy” wave to success but crash when the “easy” formula invariably leads them right back to where they started – or often, worse than where they started.
As a society, we want the easy message – no matter how misguided it is – so that’s what authors and experts serve up.
Other Leadership Ideas
For myself, I just can’t go there. I’d rather present lessons, ideas, and guides that have worked and CAN work, but only in the right situations with an appropriate level of diligence on the reader’s part. Success takes applying yourself in a smart way.
If you’re still reading by this point, odds are you share this perspective. If it weren’t what you wanted to hear, there are SO many other places you could go to spend your self-improvement time since there are a LOT of Dogbert leadership ideas out there. – Mike Brown