The next revolution is upon us. Having experienced the industrial revolution, we are now experiencing a new revolution, which is changing the way the world operates. And no one really knows how it is all going to shake out, whether this is the end of prosperity for the west, the rise of the east, or if it means continued disaster for Africa.
The more uncertainty we experience, the bigger the crisis, the more we need leaders. Perhaps because in times of chaos and complexity we crave direction. And confident leaders provide us with direction. This may explain the west’s obsession with leadership. Today I searched the term leadership on Google.com. The search engine came back with 439 million results as compared to 214,000 results on followers/followership. Do we want someone to save us?
Too much emphasis on confidence in leadership can lead to over-confidence and bad judgement. Having humility and accepting that we don’t know everything is an important antidote to disastrous thinking. The current budget ceiling crisis in the US may be in part the result of over-confidence on the part of the Tea Party that an ideological solution was the only solution possible. As a result, the world is slipping into financial chaos for the second time in three years. (Although we can’t apportion all of the blame to the US, certainly Greece, Italy and Spain have their own share of the blame for the current world economic woes).
Confidence needs to be balanced with humility. Seeking out one wise person with all of the answers to lead us through chaotic times is not a solution in our complex world. Rather than looking for someone with all of the answers, we need to look for someone who knows the right questions.