Book Me For A Speech

12 Things I Believe

My Writing and Ranting

Press Room

Good Books

« Be Thankful for the Good Things: It Makes You Happier and Healthier | Main | Microcosmographia Academica: One Of The Greatest Books On Organizational Politics »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



The link to the PDF file has changed, it now can be found here:

Bob, thank you again for this post


Bob - thanks, especially give our longish history of exchanges re: Leadership. Agree. Some of my favorite essays are Stockdale on Leadership in "Reflections of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot". Worth people's time IMHO. Some of the great US commanders, e.g. Bull Halsey, went out of their way to create that tribal feeling as best they could by making their troops feel like they personally knew the boss's goals and desires; and that the boss would take care of them. A key point of Stockdale's is that leadership isn't forced by the bullies but results from whomsoever can step forth in crisis and carry the tribe to safety. He points in particular to Conrad's "Typhoon" and the crazy Lt. who usurped the Captain's prerogatives during the storm.


I worked for a bully for a boss for 2 years. I hated the work environment but the money was good. I finally bit the bullet and left the place, even though I took a huge hit financially. The atmosphere is much nicer where I work now and our boss leads by example. The peace in my life is well worth the financial sacrifice. I'll never work for that kind of "leader" again.


a complementary view to leadership involves clarity of purpose, and hence language. there is a PDF available at


All, thanks for the great comments. And Wally, yes, my reading of the article is consistent with your point. The leaders were as you say lifted up by the followers -- and then pushed out by them when they weren't fit.

Wally Bock

Thanks for the pointer, Bob. I've downloaded the article for reading. For now I'll share an observation that may be in it. It seems that the leaders in earlier times were not "promoted" by those above them in some hierarchy as they were raised up from the group for specific tasks.


Bob--Jared's comment is insightful: I heartily agree that it is a precious gift to any organization which discovers, in its midst, managers or executives able to both lead and follow.

To me, it is no surprise at all that the Van Vugt group validated the theory that leaders are most successful with their followers find that they bring value to the followers. That's how a win/win is constructed in this context: I lead, you (as a follower) gain, and thereby devote even more energy to supporting my leadership.

That partnership is one which leads to long-term success. Bullying and climb-the-ladder, back-stabbing tactics can lead to short-term success, but it always fails in the long run. Why? If everyone is not benefiting to some degree, that jerk leader (you have a better word for that person, Bob) will lose support over time.

It is, put simply, not a self-perpetuating system.

Jared Cosulich

I've always felt that the dynamic between leader and follower was more polarized then it should be. It seems that most people want to say you are a leader or you are a follower , but you can't be both.

Personally it seems that when you look at most real world situations that people who are capable of both leading and following effectively are the single greatest assets in an organization. They're capable of taking the help and providing direction and they are capable of stepping back and helping propel another person's vision forward. It allows you to avoid the "too many cooks in a kitchen" scenario while still bringing together diverse individuals who are all capable of driving things forward when the opportunity is right...

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Asshole Survival

Scaling Up

Good Boss Bad Boss

No Asshole Rule

Hard Facts

Weird Ideas

Knowing -Doing Gap

The No Asshole Rule:Articles and Stories