Leadership: a 94.4% draw

I know that WordPress and other internet analytics are not perfect measure of web traffic.  But I’ve noticed over time that those posts I’ve written about leadership have been searched for many more times than key words like ethics, morality, efficiency, performance evaluations or soft skills.  So I thought I’d do a bit of data mining to see what else I could find.  I printed out a list of all of the key search words recorded in the analytics and put them into an excel spreadsheet.  Each key word was accompanied by the number of search hits on my site.  Many of the words were duplicate (like performance evaluation and evaluating performance), so rather than wast time with half-baked data, I simply looked at the top 50 search items and identified those that referred directly to leadership.  The top hits were for leadership, transformational leadership, charismatic leadership and idealized influence. Of the top 50 search items, 94.6% were directly related to leadership. And this begs the question, why?

The first answer is that leadership is among the most studied and published areas in management. There are many theories (both practical and theoretical) that aim to guide the academic and the practitioner to a better way of leading. Second, there are so many contingencies (personality, industry, culture) that influence the leader-follower relationship, that the notion of “one size fits all” never applies. Third, our society places a high value on leadership. World cultures emphasize that if you are a great leader, then you are a “great man”. Fourth, leadership is the pathway to career and financial success. If you want to be rich and powerful (perhaps even famous) be a leader! Finally, leadership is power, power give access to money and resources, and these things attract the attention and gain the good will of those around you. So, it’s really no wonder why people search for leadership materials on blogs, in business magazines, newspapers and academic manuscripts. I’ll continue to publish on this topic, but my focus is going to change in future posts. Given the already romanticized notion of leadership, it’s time we focus more of our attention on the responsibilities and burdens of being a leader. To be a leader is also to be an effective follower, so here to I will direct some of my attention. Particularly the “up-and-comer” who dreams of her career success needs a greater sense of what it means to follow effectively before she can become the leader that effectively serves others and her organization!


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