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


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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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3 Responses to “Leadership Ideas – Dogbert on the Easy Route to Successful Leadership”

  1. Bradley Woody Bendle says:

    So true! Great post Mike!

  2. Mike Brown says:

    Michael Irvin, the Big Idea Guy shared his perspective on today’s post via email:


    I enjoyed your blog post today. I have been a fan of true leadership for decades. The kind of leadership that makes one a Mandela, Martin Luther King, or Gandhi. You are right. There are no easy pathways and its a combination of many, many things.

    Sadly today most leaders get there by default or a glib tongue (sounds better than bullsh*t). I’ve served under so many who had the leader title but were so clueless as to how to lead. The Dilbert Principle is still alive and well.

    Yet in premise leadership is easy. Here’s an example: “Become the leader you would follow”. Seems very simple doesn’t it? Yet, when you drill down into what this actually means you could have a series of seminars that would take you into the next century, don’t you agree.

    Just thought I’d share a few thoughts on this fine Tuesday morning.