Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Leading Lights

An article at Huffington Post at the weekend got me thinking on the topic of leadership. The piece: What a Leader Looks Like, by Fidji Simo, Director of Product at Facebook. Ms Simo made some good points, but some commenters made better ones. This, for instance from commenter Alex Alan Berg, San Francisco, California ~

True leaders do not need an audience. They 'do' what they 'do' with no need for applause or approval or disapproval of others. This is not to say that they are immoral, but rather that they embody morality, or a sense of justice for themselves and others seeking the same...
True leaders do not affect 'leadership qualities'...
True leaders merely ARE....
True leaders have compassion for their fellows, and disdain for those who merely pretend to lead.......and true leaders have the GUTS to point such fakery out....
True leaders have very few friends, or even lovers, but true leaders have the BEST of friends, and sometimes, even lovers....
True leaders help others survive life.... and to combat those who attempt to take it in whatever form....
True leaders need no acclaim or praise, but rather the knowledge that their efforts led to something that helped others who could not succeed on their own...
God bless the true leaders, for they know better than to work in environments which IMPEDE rather than CULTIVATE leadership....including corporations.... where you will NEVER find a true leader....

Taking a look at what 20th century British astrologer C.E.O. Carter had to say about leadership, in his Encyclopaedia of Psychological Astrology (1924) ~
Aries, Leo and Capricorn may be styled signs of leadership, and the ideal leader should have all three strong. Of the three, Aries leads by its energy, courage, and power of evoking loyalty, but it usually meets many opponents, as we can see in the cases of Gordon, Mrs Besant, and Savonarola [people of note in early 20th century], and many Aries people at some time or other of their lives, if not frequently, are carried away by their own energies and make serious blunders. Capricorn rules by diplomacy and tact, and by appeals to self-interest in the lower types [Oh Mr Carter - really? Tsk!] and to moral principles in the higher. The Sun is a natural commander and often leads by sheer personality. Lord Kitchener, although his birth-time is unknown, probably belonged to this class, and in his case we also see the popularity with the masses that a good Cancer element often bestows.

The Uranian leader is probably yet to come, but to a certain extent, and in a distorted way, we may perhaps class under this planet the dictators and semi-dictators of this present epoch.

It must be born in mind that, in their appropriate spheres, each sign may figure as a leader, if the rest of the map supports it.

I think Mr. Carter's last point would have been better made at the start. A leader in one sphere could prove to be quite disastrous in another. There are some basic qualities and potentialities that all good leaders, in any situation, will need - these for instance: self confidence, self belief, integrity, courage and vision.

I wondered if I'd ever rambled on before about leadership; came up with this, part of a post from 2007:

What would we look for in the astrology of such a leader? I'm tempted to say that astrology would come second - we'd first be hit between the eyes by his/her charisma. We wouldn't need to search astrological charts to find someone with potential - it would be staring us in the face. What might the chart of such a being contain though?

The classic answer would be a good dose of Leo to attract attention, but I don't think Leo alone equals charisma. Leo provides the vehicle to show it off - that's all. The rest of the ingredients must come from some magical mix of planets, signs and aspects in the natal chart which somehow connect with the communal mindset and needs of a particular time or era.

On the resume of a heroic leader in any era we'd hope to find evidence of vision (Aquarius), passion(Scorpio), discipline(Saturn), persistence (Fixed signs), good judgement and decisiveness (not sure, Cardinal signs and a combination of many factors?) He'd need to be empathetic(Water signs), a team builder(Air signs), and though an extrovert to the public(Leo), have the ability to be introspective also(12th house). Above all - top of my own list - strength and integrity(not sure how that would show - a well configured and balanced chart with appropriate planets close to the angles?)

And from 2008 a slightly different angle (I'll copy it in full, comments can be seen at the original posting HERE.) These aren't qualities of zodiac signs as leaders themselves, but what I believe the essence of each sign would wish to see in a good leader.

Signs Having their Say on Leadership

If the 12 zodiac signs had voices, what would they tell us on the topic of leadership? What would each of them want to see in a new leader of any kind - in a President or Prime Minister for example ? Listen:

Aries.........someone decisive, who will have no compunction about leading the herd, identifying and getting on immediately with what needs to be done.

....someone who will honour the environment, and the arts, look after the wealth of those who have it, while for those who don't, help to make improvement possible.

Gemini.....someone who knows how to communicate with the public without talking down or patronizing them, someone with fresh ideas and flexibility in their plans.

Cancer......someone with strong family values, enough sensitivity and emotional intelligence to understand the needs of the people.

Leo......someone who, above all else, stands out as having leadership qualities, who people will automatically accept as their superior, irrespective of any other factor.

Virgo.....someone who demonstrates integrity and discrimination, who can sort the wheat from the chaff when populating his/her cabinet, someone with a mind sharp enough to see potential flaws in plans presented by others.

Libra......someone with tact and good judgment, the ability to see both sides of any issue.

Scorpio......someone who feels passionately about important issues, and has the tenacity and determination to stick to their principles and ideals.

.......someone who has a philosophical turn of mind, sufficient to see the big(and even bigger) picture, and an ability to see how good might be extracted from difficult situations.

Capricorn......someone who is straightforward, practical and hard working for his/her people - no bells and whistles required, just solid reliability and experience.

Aquarius.....someone who has the good of all humanity in mind, not just the good of his/her own nation, and who considers all people from the most lowly to the most eminent as equals.

Pisces..........someone with vision, and with compassion in all circumstances, intuitive insight and an uncanny ability to know the right thing to do, when everyone else is in a quandry.


mike said...

Well, leadership is an odd one! Human nature doesn't seem to allow a 100% effective leader and that individual is more likely to score a 50% effective rating. There will always be admirers and dissenters of each executive. An effective leader will have to contend with usurpers, criminals, and misfits vying for their position. It's evident in politics and other areas that a set-up, rumor, or off-truth can devastate one's authority, as can words or actions taken out of context. Most leaders are sandwiched between upper and lower strata, therefore with conflicting demands from above and below.

It's been my observation that the most effective leaders typically have personality defects and are what I would describe as "borderline personality disorder" types. Most of these executives instil some form of fear, co-dependency, or irrational behavior among their staff. Most are very good communicators. I'm not implying that these same individuals are competent...LOL! More that they instinctively know how to play the survival-domination game. Unfortunately, the bosses I've appreciated the most have all had what I would describe as mostly positive attributes, a bit like your astrological profiling, but those favored bosses lacked the dog-eat-dog and were eventually "eaten" or didn't attain a higher level.

In the ideal world, the positive astrological qualities you provide seem essential to effective leadership. I can ascribe those same qualities to almost any human-human interaction as desirable traits. However, as we all know, each of us is a mixture of positives and negatives. One of my favorite quotes is "there is the best in the worst of us and the worst in the best of us". There is no such person in the role of the one-size-fits-all perfect leader.

Anonymous said...

Funny, a related discussion came up on the ElsaElsa Forum last week, where Elsa asked:

'My husband thinks leaders are born not made. He also thinks no more than 20% of people are leaders.
Are you a leader? Or are you more comfortable following?'

My response:

'What an interesting topic, as is the notion of being a born leader. Perhaps there are others who remember that old chestnut the teachers used to start discussions with as to whether it was the man who made the times or the times that made the man? I'm sure we can all think of examples of both; say, Alexander the Great as the former, and Winston Churchill the latter.

I've just been poking around the internet and apparently leadership indicators are for someone with both the will (preponderance of planets in masculine signs) and the ability (preponderance of planets in the left hemisphere of the chart) to lead. These, then, would be the Alexander the Greats, perhaps.

Certainly, I am not the type to thrust myself to the forefront and demand fealty, but neither will I choose not to lead for the sake of foregoing responsibility. If I were stranded on a desert island and some large, loud, bossy type started telling us all how he was now in charge because he said so, well, I'd be getting lost in the jungle pdq. Which is apparently what some of the women who accompanied the sailors on the Bounty did when things went pear-shaped on Norfolk Island.

Eight planets in the left hemisphere, Mars cj NN Cap, and Jupiter cj Uranus 10th - I'll do as I damned well see fit, thank you very much.'

Here is the link to the Leader or Follower article to which I referred -


Twilight said...

mike ~ Leadership. It's a topic that can be looked at in different ways isn't it?
What most people envisage on hearing the word leader - in no particular context - is probably a brave heroic military guy leading his men to safety through all kinds of dangers - or a wartime leader like Winston Churchill or Montgomery. Those would have to be at the top of any "leader hierarchy" I suppose, while below them there are all manner of leadership roles in life, professional or personal. I think the astrological part of leadership will be most clearly seen, if at all, in a natal chart, in those at the top of the leadership hierarchy. In ordinary mortals such as I, it'd likely come down to circumstance and necessity, more than something in a natal chart.

I agree with your thoughts on this though - especially that, with the brilliance of leadership at the highest points, there will often be corresponding darkness to be found.

mike (again) said...

Off topic - To all citrus lovers. I have three citrus trees that acquired "citrus greening disease" this year. I'll probably not have a harvest this winter. I just looked at a map and the disease is in the Rio Grande Valley near here. Here's a link about the disease:
The map is on the right, "June 12, Map of Positive Finds...".

I'm writing this to let you all know that this is a global concern and every citrus growing state in the USA has it. If you like lemons and-or limes, purchase a supply and freeze while they are available. Buy extra frozen orange juice. I have no idea when a shortage will be declared, but there will eventually be a shortage...maybe next year or the next.

Twilight said...

Sabina ~ Oh really!? It must be all the Leo-ness in the air at present!

Thanks for the link - which I have glanced at, just enough to make sure it was by the person I remembered. That astrologer once reported me and caused a cease and desist notice to be sent to me because I had the audacity to copy a very brief snip from something he had written - with full attribution and recommendation to read the whole article. Dang!
I've not forgiven him yet. (Mars in Scorpio!) LOL!

I'm by nature a bit of both - follower for the most part and leader-ish - depending on situation and circumstance. I'd never, ever be (or have been) a leader of any prominence, that's for sure - I don't enjoy public speaking - at all! But the Aquarius/Aries in me urges some forward push at times, in minor ways. If I'd been born a bit later, with Leo rising, I'd surely have been a whole lot different. Most of my personal planets are on the right side of the chart circle, Moon but barely on left, with all 3 outers on the left.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thanks for the warning. I buy Cartons of "Florida's Natural" orange juice regularly (for a glass a day). Can't really freeze that, will have to resort to vitamin pills, in due course, maybe.

mike (again) said...

Those individuals that can act and play the part are SEEN as effective leaders, whether they have what it takes or not. We do judge others on their healthy appearance and sex appeal, overtly or subconsciously, so the more attractive, the better. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger or Ronnie Reagan whose Hollywood personas permeated their novice political campaigns. A symmetrical face with perfect features, glowing skin and teeth, balanced by a smooth-talking, pleasant voice can do wonders for any career. The image of clean and hygienic, inside and out.

"It doesn't matter how you feel, it only matters how you look...and darling, you look marvelous!" Billy Crystal

LB said...

Well, we're always 'led' by something.:)

In terms of actual 'leaders', more and more I question the idea that our greatest problems will ever be solved by giving ourselves over to anyone or anything outside ourselves, including our elected political leaders who mostly serve as idealized paternal figures we've projected our collective (negative and/or positive) shadows on.

Whether we'd like to admit it or not, I think for a large percentage of us, a good leader is someone who maintains and actively protects our greatest illusions about the world, someone who gives us reason to believe our individual needs (or those of our chosen tribe) will me met, *without* necessarily considering the needs of others ~ at least not in any real, meaningful or *inclusive* way.

A leader can't exist without followers. Most of us see whatever it is we want to see, whether it's real or not. In addition to all of the other challenges we face as humans, group-think can dull our minds, consciences and powers of discernment.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Yes, that's the point the writer of the article linked at the top of the post was making, I think - at first. She came to the conclusion later that it wasn't 100% right though, after having had to present herself in unattractive (as she saw it) ways to her "minions", and nobody cared.

I enjoy seeing a pleasant physical appearance, when it's present, but I don't think I put it first in any list of requirements for a leader (or for any role at all) - in fact I know I don't, looking back at some of the UK politicians I've supported in the past. LOL! I go by a "feeling" I get about someone - but that's just me, and perhaps some kind of astrological antenna at work. Without that, I might well go first for a handsome/pretty face.

Twilight said...

LB ~ You're right, up to a point, I think, re: "...reason to believe our individual needs (or those of our chosen tribe) will me met, *without* necessarily considering the needs of others ~ at least not in any real, meaningful or *inclusive* way.
Most other of Earth's beings have leaders too, it seems to be an inbuilt characteristic of life on Earth that "some shall lead, some shall follow" - with the former being fewer in number, by far, than the latter. There'll always be that odd-man-out (or woman or creature) though, the he, she or it who chooses to go against the grain...and some brave souls will see even them as leaders - of a different kind.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Our way of life is dying and we don't even know it. The kind of earthy, holistic and inclusive (as opposed to short-sighted, profit or power-driven) leadership you're referring to isn't something we generally value in the developed world. These aren't the leaders we choose to lead us, or the ones we want to listen to.

The Huffington Post article you linked to was written by someone whose job it is to increase *profits* for the business she works for, Facebook.

Don't know if you mentioned it or not, but I'm assuming the post is part of the "True North" series, a Monday column started by Bill George, the former CEO of Medtronic: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-george/true-north-leaders-antido_b_7732830.html

His suggested "True North" leadership approach (and diagram) is focused on serving the *institution's* best interests, which goes to my earlier point.

Usually (but not always), it's about growth and expansion, making more money, selling more product and using more natural resources. People, communities and the environment aren't priorities.

It's tough for a lot of service organizations, particularly ones genuinely trying to make a difference. In serving the needs of oppressed or overlooked people or communities, we often rely upon (and therefore perpetuate) other oppressive/destructive systems.

As an example, and though I understand the practical reasons behind the decisions the leaders of these organizations feel compelled to make in trying to feed the greatest number of people using limited funds and sponsors, I recently stopped donating money to our local Food Bank and Meals on Wheels.

The type of food they were buying with my donations really bothered me, it isn't what I'd want to eat! So instead, I began occasionally donating bags of healthy, organic food (as ethically-produced, locally-grown as I can find ~ or at least I tried) to a neighborhood group that delivers *free* food to home-bound seniors. Sometimes there isn't an ideal solution, but I'd appreciate more leaders willing to try.

Twilight said...

LB ~ The commenter whose comment I borrowed at the top of the post made that same point in a different way:

God bless the true leaders, for they know better than to work in environments which IMPEDE rather than CULTIVATE leadership....including corporations.... where you will NEVER find a true leader...

I didn't know about the True North Series - I read the piece, attracted by the title only. It does seem to fit the bill though.

There are all kinds of leaders, for good and for ill (and stations somewhere between). Those posts I wrote a few months ago about "The Abominables" highlighted some leaders on the dark side. It's a topic that is impossible to cover in full in any piece or post, I guess.

Your decision to donate better types of foods was thoughtful, and I feel sure much appreciated by the receivers.

LB said...

Twilight ~ I noticed the commenter specifically mentioned corporations, but *un*incorporated businesses and organizations can suffer from poor or inconsistent leadership too.

Our local worker-owned food cooperative (where in theory, each owner is 'led' by greater cooperative principles) carries a wide variety of chocolate and cocoa in their small store. A number of these products are made using direct or fairly traded cocoa grown by smaller worker-owned cooperatives ~ that's the good news.

The BAD news is they also sell a number of chocolate items produced by corporations or businesses that use cocoa sourced in ways and from parts of the world where child slavery and human trafficking are common.

I've tried to break through the fog and convince them not to sell some of these brands (had conversations with several workers and sent lists and links to their chocolate buyer), but so far no one seems interested or passionate enough to take it on.:(

So far as I can tell, their customer base must not have challenged them either. It's been a while, I may try again.:)

They seem like a bunch of happy workers, though. They managed to buy their building and not that long ago, raised enough money to install solar panels.

There are lots of other examples, but you get the idea. Humans are humans, which doesn't mean I don't think cooperatives have value or potential.

mike (again) said...

“Now, there's one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here... like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. F*ck Hope.” George Carlin

LB said...

mike ~ I may not agree with everything George Carlin said, but I do agree, it's a human problem. I'm assuming you were responding to the example I used of our neighborhood cooperative and the folks who shop there.

Twilight said...

LB ~ you go gal! :-)
mike (again) ~ We still miss George Carlin don't we?

LB said...

Adding how throughout history, we've had wise and compassionate leaders who led by example. Decades and centuries later, and we're still arguing about and twisting their words to rationalize our greed, cruelty and inhumanity.

Anonymous said...

'When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.

If you don't trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.

The Master doesn't talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, "Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!'

Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell trans.

Twilight said...

Sabina ~ Good one! And so true. Thank you.