The art of leadership (according to Dilbert)

Today I had an epiphany.

I have a tear-off, one sheet a day, Dilbert calendar on my desk.  I enjoy the humour and the cynical accuracy, and I pretend that I have never met people like the cartoon nor found some of the situations to be uncannily accurate.

And reading today’s strip I wondered how much we fall for the confidence trick: leadership is the art of trading imaginary things in the future for real things today.

In this context perhaps there are two sorts of manager: those who will develop and encourage their people, and those who exploit the staff to better serve their own careers – the latter being the more likely to use Dilbert’s art.

Maybe, then, Lewis Carroll also understood the lure of the dangled carrot – with the Queen of Hearts proclaiming to Alice [in Wonderland]: “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today“.

Knowing that there is no jam tomorrow, why do we chase the dangling carrot? Because even though our rational brain says “no”, there’s still a worm of hope which says “maybe” – a gambler who wants te believe.

Now knowing the art, I know which leader I want to be (and it’s not as evidenced by Catbert!).