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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

End of Leadership: Post #5--Leadership Decline

American Leadership Decline: In the 60s and 70s another tectonic shift occurred in America. Assassinations of Jack and Bobby Kennedy as well as Martin Luther King, the enormously unpopular Vietnam War, and the Nixon cover-up scandal all stoked the flames of change and shift in the power status of leadership. By the 70s, politicians’ and corporate leaders’ popularity has precipitously eroded. In 1975, 45% of the population thought that politicians were corrupt. Needless to say over the years, (with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the near meltdown in the US economy, and the evolving financial crisis worldwide) all have added to an atmosphere of distrust of anyone in authority. And yet as the author suggests, the leadership industry ignores this devolution of leadership primacy—in favor of a kind of myopic focus on leaders instead of the emerging influence and power of followers. Like Nero playing the violin as Rome burned?
6.    Technological Imperatives: Unless you’ve been on Mars for the past decade or so, you know the power of communication. With blogs, Twitter, YouTube and a myriad of evolving media, anyone with a computer and Internet access can break a story and help or hurt a reputation overnight. In fact, stopping the flow of such information is impossible. Just ask the president of Syria, the folks in Egypt, the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi, or former VA Senator George Allen. More than a few leaders have taken a fall because someone had a cell phone and a camera handy at the worst or best possible time. “In the twenty-first century, freedom of expression has another definition: freedom to say anything to anyone about anything or anyone, anywhere, at any time, in real time (p.51).” A form of intense transparency has changed how political and corporate leaders have to act, even survive, in this new world order.

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