We Don’t Lack Leaders, We Lack People With Empathy


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What makes a leader? What makes a person a leader?
We follow leaders because of many reasons; because they have a strong vision; because they are charismatic; because they inspire us to do great things; because of this and that.

Great leaders like Steve Jobs, had many followers who followed him because he was a visionary, he was charismatic, and he demanded – inspired – people to do great work. We can stretch it a little and say the same can be applied to Hitler – the man literally convinced his people to go to war and risk their lives for him.
These are great leaders, and I believe there are many more of such leaders around us that we know.

I have seen and been under leaders who emits “leadership” qualities. They can give great instructions, make us work together as a team, and make us willing to push ourselves just a little more to achieve their goals.

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But does these “leadership qualities” really make a leader so great that we are willing to go to lengths for them? In the short-run, I believe these “leadership qualities” are key as they get people started, get people to work together, and push people to achieve short-term goals – like completing a project. In the long-run, however, I believe caring for people (empathy) is the key characteristic, is the true mark of a leader.

I do not think that someone who can lead is naturally a leader.
I would work really hard for a charismatic leader for 1 week to complete the project for them. But if they are not caring, not empathetic to people, I can see myself quitting once I am burnt out. Because a leader can only keep us in their ‘reality distortion field’ for so long before we all break free from it and realise that he/she can lead, but is not a real leader.

We lack people who care for others, who are genuinely concerned about their people’s well-being, and not just their own. I am arguing for another kind of leader, the kind of leader that has a normal vision, has minimal charisma, does not really inspire us to do great work, but genuinely cares for us and our well-being, and because of that care, we are willing to work with and for them.

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