Business is hardly the only environment in which there seems to be growing gulf between "leaders" and the people they are ostensibly "leading." I would say that trust in politicians is at an all-time low if I didn't see it keep dropping. Managers and executives are increasingly seen as mercenary jackals in sharp suits, with MBAs from distinguished institutions. As a Roman Catholic, I often find the edicts of the Pope and the Curia to be pretty deeply different from my own convictions.
Is this new? Am I living in the modern equivalent of the reign of Caligula? Why is it that, with the unprecedented understanding of psychology and the wealth of information we have today, leaders Just Don't Get It?
I started writing my start-up meta-plan (plan of how to plan a start-up) over the weekend, and trust-building is explicitly part of it. To me, it seems pretty apparent that a leader whose followers don't trust them isn't going to achieve much, either towards their own vision (if they have one) or towards the (often inchoate or unarticulated) vision of the group they are "leading." Plenty of others have said it; I'm hardly such a genius as to be the first to discover something so fundamental.
Is there something about the experience of being a leader that draws leaders into their own little world? I suspect there is, and that it's ego. Ego alone doesn't seem sufficient, though: some seem to become downright delusional (Kim Jong-Il, we're all looking at you!), and behave to all external appearances utterly irrationally.
I've considered going into politics at some point, but frankly, I'm not sure I'm strong enough to resist this. For so many people to have succumbed to whatever this force is, it must be substantial. I want to do good, but if I become just another example of the kind of leader I'm hoping to displace, I've merely worsened the overall situation, both for myself and for everyone else.
Just a collection of thoughts. Final notes:
a) Yes, I know that not all leaders are "like that." It's just that there are an alrming supply of highly visible ones.
b) Please don't comment to bash specific leaders or (especially) all leaders.