Years ago, I heard a lecture by author Robert Kiyosaki, who co-wrote the best-selling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
The lecture, and the book, was all about the various ways you could invest to make money, but in amongst all of that, Kiyosaki broached the subject of leadership.
While I never followed any of his investment advice, I’ll always remember what he said about leaders.
From his perspective, most of those who masquerade as leaders are, in fact, nothing more than managers. Leader and manager, he explained, are two completely different mindsets.
Leaders by nature look to expand boundaries and explore new ideas while managers look to confine and contain. Leaders are not threatened by change, but managers are; managers say “why” and leaders say “why not!”
A leader is someone who can create an environment that helps you overcome your fears; a manager plays on them to maintain some sense of control.
These are just some of the fundamental differences, but you get the drift.
Politics post-9/11 was made for managers. Our fears came to the surface and the advantages of being corralled into a place where we’d trade freedom for security was the only solution being offered.
The machines behind both major parties then set about creating and presenting politicians in the manager mould because they were obviously going to be vote winners.
Parliaments around the country are now full of them, which is bad news, really, because that research from David Chalke would suggest they are not what we want any more!
Could our apparent dissatisfaction with the manager mentality that permeates our politics be one reason why the Greens and independents are attracting such support?
Like the Queen Mary, the political machine doesn’t turn quickly, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see another Don Dunstan or Sir Thomas Playford in South Australian politics, but it’s going to be fascinating to see if any one is game enough to try.