Archive for the Ideas Category

Characteristics of a good leader…or something…

Posted in College, Ideas, People, Places, Posted by g mcclure, Society, Things on 24 September 2009 - Thursday by g mcclure

So I’m taking an SLA class this semester (Student Leadership Academy). The big overarching question that comes up inevitably in every class and in each discussion therein is this:

“What exactly is/makes a leader?”

And here are the answers that are inevitably thrown out in each class and in each discussion therein:






A good listener

A good communicator




You get the overused, overstated, oversimplified, overgeneralized idea. What’s worse, everyone is carrying around articles, scholarly and otherwise, in their brand new, college-provided, leather, SLA portfolios that say those things and list those same traits. The evidence is incontrovertible, right?

Yeah, I don’t see it.

I’ve known a lot of people who fit that bill who couldn’t head up an expedition to the laundromat. Similarly, I’ve known a hell of a lot of people who couldn’t come within a javelin rocket’s range of being “honest, down-to-earth, trustworthy,” who could organize four disabled hamsters into a congressional joint subcommittee capable of solving the healthcare crisis.

So I got to thinking. You know, those noble characteristics are all pretty vague in the wash, so let’s investigate a little. So here are some top google results for a few searches (if you’d like the conclusion without the research, skip past the links and I’ll summarize):

Characteristics of a good leader

Characteristics of a good teacher

Characteristics of a good soldier

Characteristics of a good manager

Characteristics of a good employee

Characteristics of a good friend

Characteristics of a good parent

Characteristics of a good person

So if you looked through those just now, you saw that remarkably every single one of those is the same person. A friendly retired military man or woman now working as a mid-level managerial trainer who enjoys authoritative responsibilities at work and has kids at home. Really, with only minor semantic differences, every one of those descriptions was the same.

So really, we have no clue what makes a leader a leader. If Joe Shmoe submitted that there is a genetic leader gene in the good ole AGCT double helix, we wouldn’t have a suicidal lemming’s better idea to suggest.

Or maybe, the simple truth is that there really is no difference between a good leader and a good person, and that the only prerequisite for leadership is that said aspiring leader be an independent, self-aware, generally capable and developed human being.

You know what, let’s follow that line of reasoning for a while. Let’s assume that the truth is that you only need to be a well-developed human to be a leader. That, coupled with the reality that there are very few genuine leaders out there compared to how many there are not, has an interesting implication. It implies that there are very few independent, self-aware, generally capable, developed human beings.

Oh, Greg, be careful. You’ve stopped thinking and started meddling now.

So I have. Which all leads me to my point – a short one, which I’ll make quickly.

I think the true measure of a leader has nothing to do with characteristics and everything to do with behavior. Furthermore, I would submit that the most noble and profitable behavior for a leader and for everyone s/he leads is to make him/herself obsolete. By that, I mean that a leader (remember that our working definition of that term is an independent, self-aware, generally capable, developed human being) should work to produce more leaders (more independent, self-aware, generally capable, developed human beings). That simple. Everyone profits. The leader’s responsibilities are permanently fulfilled, the followers are bettered and never need be lead again, no one ends up dependent on anyone else, and everyone moves toward being equals.



Posted in I'm a hippie on 18 June 2009 - Thursday by Matthew Bowerman

Greg, you are a dork.

Guest Appearing on the Colbert Report

Posted in Everyday Life, Ideas, Music, Poetry, Society, Things on 22 May 2009 - Friday by g mcclure

“Do you know the enemy?,”

Green Day asked from my TV

in just the same meter I used

for those first two lines

and the same meter used

in a thousand lines

of a thousand punk songs

since punk music decided,

“Silence is the enemy!”

(Green Day screamed from my TV)


Posted in Affairs of the Heart, Ideas, Past experiences, People, Personal, Poetry, Posted by g mcclure, Things on 16 February 2009 - Monday by g mcclure

have you ever knocked on the door of a color

and invited it in for wine and cheese

before offering a full course of intimacy

and a small cup of coffee to sooth the sting

of your violent careless advances

and selfdisclosures made prematurely

in short have you ever seen red

and let that prostitutes light go black


novem ûndecim

Posted in History, Ideas, People, Places, Poetry, Posted by g mcclure, Things on 10 October 2008 - Friday by g mcclure

we were a dynasty nation
my brothers and i were
i the old the eldest
and they the twin heirs
we were kings among paupers
and more than mere men
we were taller
we were stronger
we were loved
we were lovers
children grew in our shadows
a  nation grew in our shadows
nothing grows now
now that my brothers are gone
i weep for their memories
and cry over their graves
i was meant to go first
they were the young
they were to inherit
i was not meant to outlive them
yet here i am
once a dynasty nation
now only an empire state

Lost Background Noise

Posted in Affairs of the Heart, Ideas, Past experiences, Posted by Matt on 22 September 2008 - Monday by Matthew Bowerman

Lost in the background, Lost in the noise
Slowly beating into my mind, In this fog i can’t seem to find
Words, expressions, hopes, they mean nothing here.
Where control is everything
there’s everything to fear
So thoughtless to my mind
to my feelings, to my time
tearing inside me
you destroy me from my mind
drugging me until there’s nothing left
except the tears, Where did they come from?
don’t ever justify the control you stole
free will that was forsaken from you
and torn from me
I’ll hide that from all of you
Deep inside my heart
lost to eternity
until my heart opens to someone
or until my heart breaks someone

forgeting the lizard

Posted in College, Ideas, Past experiences, Personal, Places, Poetry, Posted by g mcclure, Society on 18 September 2008 - Thursday by g mcclure

i saw a lizard
in the water
in a fountain
in an atrium
in a building
in a city
in a state
in a country
in a world
in a solar system
in a galaxy
in the universe
and as i thought
about the universe
i forgot
about the lizard