I did a short stint as a fashion magazine editor and it was one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had in my life. Production itself was a delight, what I could never get a hang of was the intrigue and backstabbing. We spent more time engaged in office politics than we did in creating the product. Anyways, that’s not the moral of today’s story.
On this occasion we were thick into the production of our maiden edition and everything was set, the cover had been chosen, and as editor I had signed off on it, sent the layout to production and put my deputies in charge. By the time I resumed in the morning, my team presented me with a fait acommpli, they had decided to redesign the cover without discussing it with me first. And though they were convinced they had done a really good job, they were not too sure what my reaction would be.
Upon seeing the dummy three things came to mind; first being that in truth, it was a more arresting cover, 2. I was proud that I had raised a team that had guts and was not afraid to think outside the box, and 3, disappointment that they hadn’t trusted me enough to discuss it with me before going ahead to upturn my decision.
What to do? First, I promptly approved the new cover, applauded my team for a job well done, then promptly issued a strong warning that from that point on, any contrary opinions on any issue related to the job were to be brought forth and discussed before the fact.
That’s why it’s called team work right? And isn’t that one of the strengths of a good leader, surrounding oneself with competent hands and delegating and allowing those hands to function freely for the common good abi?
Even though one could kind of guess how things would play out when the Arab Spring hit Libya, and we were all kind of expecting it, the death of Gadhafi still came to me as a shock.
And while I will not attempt to equate the running of a magazine with the running of a nation; if you break it down to the smallest atom the same basic principles of leadership apply. At what point exactly does great leadership begin to slip into extreme madness? A decade ago this was a man that was described as a great African leader; although I’m not quite clear on what his legacy is.
Is it at the point where the individual begins to see the state as an extension himself? Or is it when their utterances and actions begin to have no basis in logic, or bearing on reality, nor truth, nor justice but are simply the ranting of an arbitrary and capricious nature of someone who can and therefore does?
More amazing is that they never learn… It is simply a matter of time… no man has been able to perpetuate himself ad infinitum. So… another ‘great leader’ has ended up found in a hole, and shot dead like a dog in the street… Selah.