The Grunts and Transformational Leadership

I had planned to provide another project management tool for your toolkit.

But, seeing as the response to essays which ask for actual – WORK – on the part of readers approaches zero, I’m not going to bother.

See – no commitment.  Just gimme some Bush bashing, some inane unfounded opinions, and some free wheeling swearing.

Cheap thrills abound on progressive blogs.

I asked before for links or leads to group blogs that address policy.  There were zero.

Folks, blogs are great for entertainment, sensation and outrage.  In these, they won’t fail to disappoint.

But if you want to make real change and act, then you have to do some real work and make real commitments.

I wrote about the attributes of transformational leaders yesterdya, and the essay got very little reaction, so I have no idea if it was widely read.  But the take away there is a warning here.

The best leaders are often the ones who show up, do the grunt work, don’t stand out in flashiness, and get the job done.  Jim Collins refers to them as hedgehogs.  They keep the mission, vision and goals of the organization ahead of their own personal goals.  They toil mostly out of sight.  They freely give credit to others, and they rarely ask for credit for themselves.  They aren’t the brightest lights in the marquee, but their light is almost always on, when the others have flared and faded.

My warning to you all is that you are overlooking the real leaders in the movement while you are busy entertaining yourselves with the brightest lights. And if you don’t begin to commit to the work that must be done in order to build influence, then you are part of the problem, and not part of the solution.

I’ve tried to spend my times here asking more questions than providing answers.  But I don’t see evidence that examining the fundamental questions and laying the foundation for a real movement is valued.  Talked about ad nauseum, yes, but not valued to the extent that there is ownership and commitment to work to build consensus and to do the work that must be done for any organization or movement to succeed.

That’s the danger.  The lure of the instant gratification of the latest outrage, the most sensational egregiousness of those in power, and the schoolyard us against them mentality of protesting against bullying whilst engaging in the same tactic.

I asked Buhdy yesterday if he had any requests from me about essays, to which he responded that he didn’t.

As the wheels spin….

My hope is that you start to look beyond and under the shellack of the slick and glossy stylings of the popular blog writers and begin to identify, promote and reward the work of the true transformational leaders.  They are here – if you can just look carefully enough to see them.


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  1. How I’d love to be proved wrong. I leave you all to it.

  2. I am going to post an essay in just a few…getting all the html together regarding group blogs etc…

    I’m going to link to the two excellent pieces you wrote yesterday. Have no fear, there are workers here, but we have to balance paid work load with volunteer research and writing load. I’ve put off doing my job work all morning working on what I’m about to post.

    You have to be extra patient with volunteers. Work is well, Work!! And unpaid work takes extra time. 🙂

    • Turkana on September 26, 2007 at 10:19 pm


    here’s another:


    real work. real actions. real commitments.

    • dkmich on September 27, 2007 at 12:14 am

    I wish I knew who those true transformational leaders were.  I know I can be obtuse, but I really can’t identify them.  In 04, Howard Dean had me jazzed.  He actually got me to believe again that we could make a difference.  In 07, I am squarely back to they are all corporate crooks, everything is bull shit, and nothing will ever change.  You know, yen and yang.  You keep challenging us, but we never seem to be there. 

    • toys on September 27, 2007 at 1:34 am

    Taking over the politics of an entire country, especially one like ours, and then transforming the entire world can seem like a big cart to pull, and we don’t want it to run over us by mistake 🙂

    But I’m entirely with you on the need to get moving with the mission statement, tasks, resources and then action. 

    • Valtin on September 27, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Psychologists for an Ethical APA

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