Impostors of Leadership


They speak such wondrous words of wisdom and sometimes spirituality. They even pat you on the back and tell you what a wonderful job you are doing.  They become our presidents and vice presidents, directors, managers, teachers, scholars, business and community leaders, etc.  They manage to gather great support of colleagues; they build a wonderful network of advocates.  They publish books, articles, become great orators – they build and or lead multi-million and billion dollar companies. We praise them for their astonishing accomplishments. 


This post was inspired by a conversation on yesterday with my brother James and my friend Tammy.  Both conversations were about leadership.  It was Tammy who mentioned the words “impostors of leadership” during our conversation.  I immediately responded, “OMG, this sounds like a blog post!”  During both conversations, I was reminded of a particular scripture.  We have all heard it said many times.  It starts with a warning, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves!” (Matthew 7:15, KJV).  I can imagine the Master making this great announcement – loudly, forcibly and emphatically.

Prophets are a type of leader – a spiritual leader, if you will.  However, then also there are our leaders in medicine, education, criminal justice, law, politics, etc., etc.    Some of them, maybe many of them are no more than wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Excuse me, “ravenous” wolves in sheep clothing.  I then looked up the word “ravenous” to get a greater understanding of what this piece of scripture was attempting to communicate.  Among the synonyms are:  ferocious, greedy, insatiable, and voracious – could eat a horse!  There is so much in the idea “could eat a horse!”, but time does not permit.  Meanwhile, what I can share with you is that the Master has already forewarned us, “Beware, Beware, BEWARE!”  A wolf in sheep clothing does NOT look like a wolf.  They are NOT sheep and they are NOT leaders.  They are impostors!  – Period, Case-Closed!


And You Call Yourself a Leader? Ch1

A suit, title, an office on the 38th floor and a six figure salary does NOT  make a leader!  According to John Maxwell, author of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Leadership is about influence.  So, you arrive back at the office from a week’s vacation.  The other departments have left for the holiday and you keep your team long after the other departments have stopped all operations.  I observed you as you sat in your office pretending to be busy.  And I proclaim against all that is holy that you appear – I swear you appeared to be experiencing a great level of pride in knowing that you possess the power, but you do not exercise that power to release your people as the other directors.  You hold your staff hostage and by default you create disunity.  Leaders unite and ignite (James Kouzes, The Leadership Challenge).

Less we forget, you have done this before.  Recall, you did this selfsame thing one Christmas when you were then over three programs.  You released your two teams on the one side of the floor and left the one program on the other side of the floor all alone, working – working hard for YOU!  Later, when you were questioned about it, your response, “Oh, I got so busy and forgot!”  But you left the building with your other team members – the ones that look like you!  Oops, that was harsh, but there’s more.  

You see, I remember when I was a kid and my siblings and I had to take castor oil.  As repulsive as it was, it either kept us well or made us well.  So, as unsavory as my words may be to you, they are to make you “a better leader”.  Meanwhile, my only question to you is, “And You Call Yourself a Leader?!” 

(An excerpt from my forthcoming book, titled, “And You Call Yourself a Leader?!”)