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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just Uneasiness - Nothing More

A quote in the article posted earlier this week, Solitude In Leadership, from the book Heart of Darkness, describing the type of leader (the term is applied loosely) that is, unfortunately, too often “successful” (again, used loosely) in a bureaucracy (such as the Navy):

"He was commonplace in complexion, in features, in manners, and in voice. He was of middle size and of ordinary build. His eyes, of the usual blue, were perhaps remarkably cold. . . . Otherwise there was only an indefinable, faint expression of his lips, something stealthy—a smile—not a smile—I remember it, but I can’t explain. . . . He was a common trader, from his youth up employed in these parts—nothing more. He was obeyed, yet he inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect. He inspired uneasiness. That was it! Uneasiness. Not a definite mistrust—just uneasiness—nothing more. You have no idea how effective such a . . . a . . . faculty can be. He had no genius for organizing, for initiative, or for order even. . . . He had no learning, and no intelligence. His position had come to him—why? . . . He originated nothing, he could keep the routine going—that’s all. But he was great. He was great by this little thing that it was impossible to tell what could control such a man. He never gave that secret away. Perhaps there was nothing within him. Such a suspicion made one pause."

“. . . inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect. He inspired uneasiness.” These words struck me. I have/do work for and with such leaders. Just uneasiness, nothing more is all that they foster. May it be that I/we never leave doubt as to the Reason and the passion which drives us as leaders.

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