TED Conversations

Noel Oco

Fundraiser, Project Management

This conversation is closed.

Why is there a shortage of great leaders in the world today?

We need more leaders that will lead people to make a positive social change in the world today. Why don't we have more leaders to help solve all the major issues concerning the world today?

Share:
  • Jun 14 2013: "There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew."
    M.McLuhan
    There are no pilots either :)
  • Jun 14 2013: Several reasons.

    1. The attributes followers seek in a leader are a moving target. With the increase in technology, the rate at which this change is occurring is increasing.

    2. Wealth and fame are being considered leadership attributes by followers. Character, resolve, long-range thinking, selfless decision making, and genuine concern for humanity are not valued as much as beauty, strength, eloquence, flair, and charisma.

    3. Good leaders are forged by facing adversity and showing grace under pressure. People tend to avoid adversity, conflict, and unpleasant circumstances if at all possible. Leaders gravitate towards it.

    4. Good leaders are not perfect. There is some sort of perverse tendency among followers to seek out some weakness in leaders. The media makes a living on exploiting these weaknesses. The passion for seeing people that have risen to the top as leaders fall because of some character flaw (legitimate or not) is pathetic. The willingness of the group to look at the whole package and consider the person, good points and weaknesses, is over-ridden by a desire to see great people fall.

    5. Real people learn from mistakes. However, we have businesses and governments unwilling to admit mistakes happen,for fear of legal reprisal or budgetary vultures sensing weakness. The power of those actively seeking to be parasitic victims or efficiency heroes rather than contributors is crippling the initiative and risk taking by leaders.

    6. There is a generation of parents that focus on their child not being victimized by anyone or anything, rather than holding them accountable for good personal conduct. If a child fails, or isn't the best at something, parents focus on something being wrong externally with the system. Leaders are held accountable for actions.

    7. Cheap, fun, stylish, and immediate are replacing good quality, hard work, reliable, and long term supportability as market trends. Leadership decisions direct these trends.
  • Jun 13 2013: Systems Select Individuals......if a higher quality of Being is sought, change the System to allow for such types.

    A corrupt system selects for Inferiors.....ouch
    • Jun 14 2013: Yes, but would you agree, that we don't need great leaders any more. Slowly we get to realise that ' center is everywhere' and you is your own Savior.
      :)
  • Jun 12 2013: Don't confuse leaders with politicians. Those in it for political gain rise to the top for reasons because of recognition, not necessarily leadership.

    As Salim said, great leaders are a rare breed. They don't tend to rise through the political ranks unless they can navigate the murky water of politics as well as lead. They tend to rise in other places. Maybe they are just smart enough to stay out of politics.
  • thumb
    Jun 12 2013: Great Leaders were always a rare breed.
  • Jun 14 2013: Great leaders don't grow on planters, never had. In my opinion the amount of the so called "great leaders" per million people has been almost constant throughout history, of course I am only guessing here, but I think it is a very reasonable assumption to make, so I think the problem is not in the quantity but in the times, we are living times in which things evolve too fast, and whether we realize it or not, leadership is a very competed area where leaders become obsolete too soon, not because of themselves but because newer generations demand immediate satisfaction and when they don't get it, they shift sides too easy.
  • Jun 13 2013: Noel,
    Did you happen to see Susan Cain's talk, "The Power of introverts"?
    http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html
    I think she makes a very good point about this being the age of extroverts, and that introverts are often wonderful leaders, but just aren't made for the spotlight...
    • thumb
      Jun 28 2013: There are a lot of great and important points and moments in the talk, thanks for reminding me of it. A must see.

      I got a feeling at one point when watching it - this girl was definitely made for the spotlight and it's wonderful that she came out to tell us that story and direct attention to the non-superficial facet of leadership. There's a difference between a leader and an idol.

      Extroverts vs. introverts - she also mentions that you can never be just one or the other, that's not recommended. I remember being tested once, and was labelled extrovert (I criticised the test and got yelled at... I'm sure the tester didn't think as deeply as Susan and haven't read as much books as she did, but that's just my opinion.)
  • thumb
    Jun 12 2013: i feel that, in New Zealand, we only have bureaucrats. holding office is not the same as being a leader, unfortunately but that point is lost on many people. i think the problem stems from the fact that democracy is more about spin doctoring and PR than substantial leadership. too many career politicians and no visionaries whatsoever.
  • thumb
    Jun 16 2013: There's money to be made and pleasure to be had from exposing the imperfections (the natural give and take of strengths and weaknesses) of anyone who would gather people together and lead them.
  • Jun 13 2013: Perhaps because the great leaders who escape assassination are imprisoned.
  • thumb
    Jun 13 2013: Noel,

    Are you leading or following anyone/anything?

    "Be the change you want"
  • thumb
    Jun 13 2013: Leaders need followers, without them they couldn't be leaders and there just doesn't seem to be enough followers to go around. I do however think that there are millions of leaders out there on just about everything, on all sides leading people against each other.

    If you're asking why there's a shortage of great POLITICAL leaders, I think the current system is to blame.
  • thumb
    Jun 13 2013: I think it is a function of timing, would Lincoln have been as great without the civil war, Kennedy and sputnik, Churchill without WW2?

    It is about purpose...
  • Jun 12 2013: You show me an example of a great leader and i will show you an example of mistaken identity.