- 13 aug
Ben Tiggelaars weekly orgasm
Ben Tiggelaar (1969) believes he knows everything about leadership. He has written a number of books and writes a weekly column in the Dutch national newspaper (NRC). His topics always deal with the same theme: if you believe it, it is true. Ben has believed this so often that he actually believes it and that in itself is a virtue. Ben is vain: he always dresses in black (for impact), his voice is always loud and his messages are like a poker game: full of promise about how to get rich in a day. Nevertheless: Ben gets one thing right every time I catch him: he is very good at quoting others. For example, Ben quoted Warren Bennis last week because he died a while back. Now Bennis is a guy worth admiring. He states that “true leadership never lies since true leadership is character in action”.
How does that relate with the movie ‘Boyhood’ and Williams’ book ‘Stoner’? ‘Boyhood’ is a movie that depicts a young man’s life unfolding: a dynamic family setting with multiple (alcoholic) stepfathers, the discovery of drugs and sex and intriguing interactions between self and others. Amazingly trivial yet simultaneously amazingly fascinating if you allow yourself to stop being the viewer and start being the boy. Feel the pain, the uncertainties and the challenges of taking responsibility of life itself. Becoming responsible for being happy instead of being a victim of life. The movie reminded me of Wiliams’ book ‘Stoner’. It’s popularity (in Holland – not in the USA) is unaccounted for since his life also seems to be so incredible tedious and boring. A fundamental question remains in both examples: do or don’t they take leadership of their life within all its challenges? How do we learn to do that instead of bending towards adored leaders like Polman (Unilever) or Weiner (Facebook), just to mention a few. Thát is easy because we can sit back and blame them when everything goes wrong.
I believe that true leadership is about me. That may be boring to some; I find it incredibly inspiring that I am responsible for my own happiness and my own unhappiness. Getting behind the wheel of my own life. This is hard work and that is exactly where Bennis’ thinking made a healthy difference. For years, he persuasively argued that leaders are not born—they are made. He himself experienced that every person alive can develop the qualities that define leadership. His classic work On Becoming a Leader has served as a source of essential insight for countless readers and leaders. In a world increasingly defined by the banality of evil, causing turbulence and uncertainty, the call to leadership is more urgent than ever. I define ‘the banality of evil’ as: the absence of leadership. Not a term I coined myself by the way, but it is nevertheless still very relevant today ( http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/28/relevance-of-hannah-arendts-a-report-on-the-banality-of-evil-to-gaza/).
In my work I invite leaders to reflect on questions like: how to reduce corporate greed? How to stop misusing the planet’s resources and how to transform ego-driven abuse of people? Look around in your own company, your contextual surrounds and yourself. Tell me what you see, feel and think.