Friday, January 21, 2011

Leadership and the Self-Deceived

Image found at
The Arbinger Institute put out Leadership and the Self-Deception.  The book keyed on how humans keep themselves from true success by putting themselves in a box.  We justify why we don't do the right thing at the instant we have that opportunity (that is a pretty surface review, and if you have an interest in serving others and leading others, you SHOULD read the book).

In our social media driven culture, it seems that everyone wants to be a leader, everyone wants to be a life-coach, everyone wants to be somebody and have otherbodys follow them.  My friend posted on his blog that his 2011 New Year's Resolution will be a strict "Not Read Any Non-Fiction Books."  Read that post. If you don't, I'll tell you that he basically states, pretty accurately, that everyone is trying to find the road to success through the experiences of authors telling their readers which 1-2-3 steps to take.  Now I on the other hand, I will probably read only non-fiction books, but I do understand his point and sympathize with it.

And here's why: I see manybodys, who could be anybodys, become quote machines on the internet.  "Do something great, at some place, to someone, and its profound." -Ancient Chinese, Biblical Proverb from the middle of the 20th Century.  It seems that these quote producers (not the speaker, but the quoter) are quoting these things for the sake of their wanted followers.  They expect Facebook, or Twitter, to take them to the top of the Leadership world! That in twelve-short months, following these three-easy steps, they will be internationally renowned leadership gurus.

Image from
John Maxwell, an ACTUAL leadership guru makes this statement about leaders in Developing the Leader Within You: "If they could not lead themselves, they could not lead others."  He often states something to the effect of "Good leaders lead themselves first."  He explains that true leaders focus on their own growth and discipline, and then on ADDING VALUE to others.  This is the kicker for many wanna-be leaders.  They want to be leaders so they can turn around and see a roaring, seething mass of people cheering their greatness.

Now I do not attest to being a leader.  When I turn around the only person behind me is my wife.  And in all actuality, she's beside me.  (The one person I hope to keep behind me is the devil.)  However, I do want to increase my potential by examining my shortcomings and strengthening my weaknesses.

I honestly believe that if all of our friends and acquaintances, that would like to be more than self proclaimed leaders, sought to increase the value in others through their own personal growth, our society would be benefited.  If the selfishness of desired leadership were exchanged with the selflessness of true leadership, we would have a positive influx of circulatory facilitation, increasing our society's worth.

But I guess that's why not everyone's a leader.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Hunting of the Snark

Image from
"They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with Care;
        They pursued it with forks and Hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
        They charmed it with smiles and soap."
                     ~ Lewis Carroll from The Hunting of the Snark

The Snark . . . An inconceivable creature to be caught by an improbable crew on an impossible voyage to do so . . .

On Friday I was sitting in Federal Court watching the impossible voyage of an improbable crew catch an inconceivable creature.  I was watching a Federal deportation case, in which a young Guatemalan man's freedom hung by a three-corded rope: the United States justice system.

So I sat, as the translator explained the words of the Judge, the US Attorney explained the sentencing, and the Federal defender explained the man's plight.  The young man pleaded guilty to violating Title VIII of the United States Code.  He will be sentenced to two years in Federal prison if he is found in violation again.

Our Federal Courts are attempting to catch the inconceivable creature of illegal immigration.  The courts have a blank map, the Bellman's contradictory navigational orders, the Baker's language barrier, and the Banker's ludicrous bribes.  These form the improbable crew.

Image from
I was trying to calculate the amount of resources the US was pouring into this thirty minute event.  The cost of the judge's pay, the US attorney's pay, the lights, the microphones, the translator, the public defender's pay, the US Marshall's pay, the paper work, the clerk, etc.

I was trying to empathize with the young man.  A foreign land (of opportunity), incarceration in another nation, an unfamiliar language, the thought of home, the possibility of a reliant family, the nearness of freedom, etc.

What's more important?  No, calculable costs cannot be allocated to a human life.  And a nation driven by taxes cannot spend infinite amounts of money on any person.  But a nation driven by taxes can do a better job of keeping these cases from happening.  It can attempt to keep illegal immigrants from the hardship of incarceration, the fear of unfamiliarity, and the hope of home by ensuring they do not get in this position in the first place.  It can attempt to lessen used resources by keeping payroll judges, US Attorneys, US Marshals, and Federal Public Defenders from allocating their time to deportation cases. It can bolster security at gaping borders.

Do I make this argument because I think illegal immigrants should be second-class citizens, subject to hate, disdain, and racism.  Absolutely not.  I make this argument because I think that illegal immigrants should abide by the laws of a nation; which would inextricably protect them from these sentiments held by others.  I make this argument because I think a Nation of Laws should ensure those laws be not broken; which would inextricably protect it from a drainage of resources.  For the protection of human's rights and citizens' taxes, the United States must curtail the entrance of new illegal immigrants.  It must focus its attention to a progressing problem.

It must catch the Snark, which will
     "seem[] almost too good too be true.
Then [will] follow[] a torrent of laughter and cheers;
     Then the ominous words 'It's a Boo-'
Then Silence.

For the Snark was a Boojum, you see."