There is a danger in setting up the business leaders of the world as models of great leadership. By profile, far too many of these people are living imbalanced lives of gross inequality (not only in the earnings to contribution ratio, but in the way they live and use that money). I am all for making lots of money (in fact, if you have any extra, please send it my way), but I am worried about setting on a pedestal as exemplary leaders, those figures of modern industry that are more focused on finances than moral character.
The sting is in the tail. And while many seem happy in the limelight, their backstage lives are filled with unhappiness and perpetual regret. At the end of the day, we are whole people, and the net of our characters and lives spill over into everything that we do.
I worry about creating generations of business managers and executives who measure their leadership solely on the financial statement. But it may be difficult to see anything else, when so much of the hype in business is about who is making money, who is getting promoted, and “look how awesome this CEO is that just sold his company for x million…”
I would bet that some of the best leaders are moving along, day to day, unrecognized in our communities. They live lives of sacrifice. They lift others. They serve others. Their greatness is found in the quiet victories of others. They make life better for those around them, or for at least one other, if not all. And they build characters that will outlast any bank account.
I’m glad to see more and more media about these good people. But the best will probably never receive any media at all. They remove their capes and use them to shelter, comfort, protect and uplift others.
Do I have the courage to live so audaciously and so selflessly, that my life can be complete without praise and recognition?
That said, I am not saying that business is bad. I am simply saying that we need to watch our focus, our goal, and not let modern media (whose objectives are financial and require an audience) tell us what is right or what to aspire to when it comes to leadership. That’s all.