We live in interesting times, and right now the rule of leadership is unraveling before our eyes. I am going to take a side-step here to notice some of the belief systems about jobs from a social perspective and then get back to how you can create your own job. It’s important to have a sense of humor about what is going on in the world, since much of what is happening is interrelated, but we just tend not to notice. So, get set to dive into some pretty wacky territory when I start talking about the concept of a boss. Remember that if you want a job, in the traditional sense, you are also saying you want a boss. Implied in your search for a job is the ideal of authority, contracts, and rules. However, something very strange is happening, and right now, it may not be the best time to want to be an employee nor a boss.
The past’s ideals of leadership have become a true modern nightmare. While it is true that there is a certain amount of cooperation we need to feed and organize our societies, there is a difference between distributed leadership and hierarchical leadership models. The ideal of centralized authority took hold, even in jobs, and hierarchy was born which worked well for a while. There’s nothing wrong with centralized forms of organization, however, it is when they control the resources instead of merely managing them that they become mini-dictatorships. Think about any centralized board right now that was set up initially to just manage something, and you see gross abuses of power because of the power abdicated by members to these centralized boards. We get mad at banks for foreclosing but many seem to agree when homeowners’ associations do the same thing. Even if you don’t have a homeowners’ association you can still get sent to jail if a local city government does not like you growing vegetables in your front yard. Workers in France have gotten so fed up with leadership abuses they’ve taken to kidnapping their bosses and threatening to blow up factories! Companies still want the same level of commitment and loyalty from their worker’s but they do not want to reciprocate in wages or benefits. Many companies will drop health benefits for their employees and pay the fine to the government rather than add mandated healthcare to their employee roster. Thus, a job is no longer what we once thought it was. It is no longer defined by a 40 hour work-week, compensation for good work, benefits, or even security. Instead, it is being completely defined by ideals of leadership and authority, which are crumbling left and right. As Facebook poster Mike Winters suggests, “it should not be amazing in a country where a woman can be involved in the murder of her 2 yr old and get away with it…this woman [with the vegetable garden in her front lawn] will probably get time in jail while casey anthony goes free…the world is all screwed up in it’s thinking.”
We Need Social Leadership Models
There is a paradox in business right now. Management is actively trying to recruit employee participation, but the only thing left in their arsenal of persuasive skills is the word “job.” Jobs are scarce, right? Maybe they are not so scarce, instead think of scared. Jobs and bosses, in terms of authority and leadership, are scared. Large companies that they thought were rock-solid have vanished into Wall Street dust. What’s left of other companies is being scavenged by the corporate government and con artists. People in other countries are rising up and taking back their own industries. It’s not a good time to be a boss. The incentives used to motivate good behavior have disappeared. The incentives for bad behavior have increased and the penalties are almost non-existent. What’s left are organizations where bosses instill insecurity so they can control their resources (employees) better hoping to make them more scared than they are. They are hoping to keep them from doing the inevitable in such a situation. However, the paradox is that this tactic never ever gets participation, it instead triggers revolution or complete non-participation and their subsequent demise. Positive participation only happens when both sides have something to gain by cooperating, in which case it is no longer a boss/employee relationship, it is more of a relationship between equals. I bet that the Founding Fathers understood that principle quite well.