avoiding an arab spring

There is a really good reason why the “Arab Spring” happened.  It has less to do with politics and more to do with leadership.  Actually, It has everything to do with us as well.  The “Arab Spring” was a backlash against authoritarian leadership.  For years Mubarak and Gaddafi have been leading their people from their positions of power rather than their persuasion abilities.  One of the hardest and most rewarding leadership challenges is leading people when they have the freedom not to follow.  This kind of leadership happens everywhere from governments to churches to organizations and local communities.

The problem with the leaders in the Arab world is that they have been ruling rather than leading, they have been using their positions to dictate that their will be done.  In governments legitimacy is king. You cannot hold your position for long without the people perceiving you as the actual leader.  Some leaders of nations have taken their positions by force, but their countrymen and women do not perceive them as the actual leader, thus the revolution spawns.  If you have to hold onto your position by force, chances are, you are not the legitimate leader.

This is a huge leadership issue.  Who is legitimate?  Who leads with persuasion rather than position?  This leadership principle transcends time and the leadership of just nations.  The issue of legitimacy is relevant in communities, work places and even homes.  Do you lead out of your title or do you lead out of your ability to inspire and walk with people?  Do people follow you because if they don’t there might be consequences, or do they follow you because of a level of trust that has been built up over time?  You can avoid an “Arab Spring” by leading out of your core values and integrity.


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  • Phil Stevenson

    Dave- Excellent stuff. I liked the statement of ruling as opposed to leading.