Our focus on leadership threatens democracy

Image of monkey with text: Our focus on leadership threatens democracy

Many of us are fortunate enough to live in a democracy and most of us still defend the idea that a society should be governed by the people. And yet many are convinced that people need leaders to guide them.

Now, think about it.

How can we argue that countries should be governed by the people
and at the same time believe people must be led? It’s like saying we need a democracy where people are told how to vote.

What worries me is that hardly anyone considers the absurdity of it all. We are so deeply influenced by the leadership industry that we don’t even realise how it’s affecting our view of people and society as a whole.

Our view on democracy is changing.

We no longer see politicians as being representatives of the people. Instead, we called them leaders. And because we associate leaders with individuals who tell others what to do, we no longer see democracy as meaning “governed by the people”, but rather “people’s choice of decision-makers”.

This is extremely dangerous. We’re far more likely to become passive if we think others are in charge of our lives. So instead of us – the people – governing our countries, we’re sitting back, waiting for someone to lead us. In other words, we risk becoming passive puppets who let others dictate our future.

We need to re-think our focus on leadership. If we don’t, we put our democracies at risk.

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