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The New Yorker has a typically eclectic look at the nature of leadership that starts with poet Thomas Hardy, makes side stops at Donald Trump and Steve Jobs, and then offers an assessment of the nature and qualities of leadership, concluding that it "may be, by its nature, an anxious and inconstant idea."

"Our faith in the value of leadership is durable," the story says, adding that "it survives, again and again, our disappointment with actual leaders." People may be disillusioned with actual so-called leaders, not with the concept of being led. "In a sense, they’re caught in a feedback loop. The glorification of leadership makes existing leaders seem disappointing by comparison, leading to an ever more desperate search for 'real' leaders to replace them."

The story goes on:

"To some extent, leaders are storytellers; really, though, they are characters in stories. They play leading roles, but in dramas they can’t predict and don’t always understand. Because the serialized drama of history is bigger than any one character’s arc, leaders can’t guarantee our ultimate narrative satisfaction. Because events, on the whole, are more protean than people, leaders grow less satisfying with time, as the stories they’re ready to tell diverge from the stories we want to hear. And, because our desire for a coherent vision of the world is bottomless, our hunger for leadership is insatiable, too. Leaders make the world more sensible, but never sensible enough."

It is a fascinating read on leadership and management, and yearning and disappointment ... and you can read the whole story here.
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