Food for thought...

Especially in this age of television. This excerpt is true, but the flash and sparkle of photogenicity has distracted many from the lack of substance of some people in the public eye (celebrities and politicians).

Most of the outstanding leaders I have worked with are neither tall nor especially handsome; they are often mediocre public speakers; they do not stand out in a crowd; and they do not mesmerize an attending audience with their brilliance or eloquence. Rather, what distinguishes them is a clarity and persuasiveness of their ideas, the depth of their commitment, and their openness to continually learning more. They do not “have the answer.” But they do instill confidence in those around them that, together, “we can learn whatever we need to learn in order to achieve the results we truly desire.”

The ability of such people to be natural leaders, as near as I can tell, is the by-product of a lifetime of effort—effort to develop conceptual and communication skills, to reflect personal values and to align personal behavior with values, to learn how to listen and to appreciate others and others’ ideas. In the absence of such effort, personal charisma is style without substance. It leaves those affected less able to think for themselves and less able to make wise choices. It can devastate an organization or a society.

–Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (1990), p. 359.

Found at Fire & Knowledge, by Joshua Sowin


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