We do not need leaders because society tells us we do, and we do not need leaders because our employers enforce it upon us, we need leaders simply because we are born with a natural desire to be led. We are predisposed with a need to be guided, nurtured and supported throughout our lives at all levels and in all situations.
I would like to discuss three fundamental elements of life in relation to our predisposed need for leadership. Here are three reasons why we need leaders…
Survival: Avoiding Threats
The most fundamental need for all humans is survival. We will do anything and everything to survive and sustain our life. As a child you will view your parents or guardians as leaders as they have a significant influence on your safety. As you grow and develop they will hopefully have taught you about keeping safe and staying healthy.
However, when you reach adulthood you will soon find yourself in new and challenging situations which you have never encountered before. This results in you feeling threatened, not for your life but more for your pride, integrity and future success. You will naturally begin to seek guidance, support and leadership from others to minimise threats. If your ability to complete a task is threatened it can have a negative impact on your future success and progress. This natural desire to seek leadership for guidance in order to minimise threats at all levels is my first example of why people are predisposed to need leaders.
Purpose: Why am I here?
For centuries humans have asked the question, “Why am I here?” Although we have never found a definitive answer to this question it does not stop us from trying. Traditionally, we have assigned religious explanations in hope of answering this question but I see this more as a desire to understand our general purpose in life.
If you take this from the grand question of “Why we are here?” in its entirety, and relate this desire to general day to day activities the same question can be asked. We seek leaders to provide an answer to this question. For religious people they will typically follow a religious leader but for general day to day activities we turn to our colleagues and superiors. Leaders help us to identify, understand and refine our purpose. They help us to align our thoughts and clarify the reasons behind our work. Humans seek answers and understanding to everything they do and leaders go some way to support this need.
Achievement: Success and Rewards
Everyone wants to grow and develop in order to live a successful life. This often becomes more significant once threats have been minimised and purpose has been clarified as a sound platform will have been established. It is natural to want to be the best you can be, succeed in what you do, learn, develop and grow. This natural desire to be successful is closely linked to your survival as success will typically result in removal of threat due to increased income and job security. Additionally, successful people will be more likely to attract a sexual partner and reproduce which is another fundamental principle of life.
Again, as children your parents and school teachers will have provided leadership for your achievement but as you reach adulthood and you find yourself in new and challenging work situations and you will need to seek leadership from new sources. Good leaders can greatly enhance your potential for success and achievement. They will get the most out of you and maximise your performance. They have the ability to support and guide you in all your achievements. They provide you with what you need, allow you freedom to work, empower you, reward you and generally facilitate your progress in any way they can.
This post really brings the need for leadership right down to a fundamental level. With a natural need for survival, purpose and achievement, leaders are naturally created to fulfil this role. Leaders are only created because they are needed by others. I am not necessarily referring to a ‘leader’ as someone who is a CEO of a business or a political leader but instead someone who can motivate, inspire and support others regardless of their authority and power. This could be your friend, colleague, superior or inferior.
It is not that people cannot survive, understand their purpose and achieve without leaders but rather their ability and success will be enhanced and supported if they have a strong leader to associate themselves with. Humans have always looked for people to follow, learn from, be inspired by and model. We are all predisposed to seek leadership at all levels, power and authority and I don’t see this natural instinct and fundamental desire changing any time soon. Long live the leader (that’s everyone by the way)!