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Saturday, June 11, 2011

The One Essential Ingredient of Leadership

I have always wanted to be a leader.  But I never have been perceived as such and never shall.  The reason is I lack the one essential ingredient of leadership—the gift of gab.  Consider actual leaders throughout history and from your own experience.  No quality is essential except this gift.  Leaders need not have integrity, honesty, compassion or the lack thereof, a sense of humor or the lack thereof, goodwill or ill will, closed minds or open minds, good imaginations or minds in conventional ruts, demonstrate intelligence or the lack thereof, be law abiding or law breakers, be prejudiced and filled with hatred or loving and filled with kindness, be wise or foolish, or any other essential ingredient except the gift of gab.  Enter any crowded room, and the leaders are readily apparent.  They are the ones engaged in active conversation, and the pronounced leaders are always most talkative—sometimes to the point of being neurotically so.  Being talkative is greatly misconstrued as being at ease in social situations.  It often is just the opposite.  But the appearance of social mastery is taken as reality.  It is assumed that a quiet room is a tense room; that a quiet person is a tense person; that a talkative person is bright, that a quiet person is dull.  Even though untrue, these false conceits are firmly believed by many, especially leaders.  Self-confidence becomes equated with gabbiness.  It is inconceivable to gabbers that one could have quiet self-confidence, a quality viewed as a nonstarter.  A leader almost by definition is a malcontent, and this characteristic is egregiously manifested in endless chatter.

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