At seeing the Whale- Ahab lost his last sense of reason. “All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.” Melville
What does all that crazy talk mean?
Let’s start with Hubris- Excessive pride, presumption or arrogance… the flaw that leads to the downfall of the tragic hero.
Basically the story goes that Ahab had a run in with the Whale many years before. The quest to find the Whale and make it pay for the pain it had inflicted in him, consumed Ahab. It consumed him to the point that he was willing to destroy his boat, his crew and himself in order to accomplish his goal. Hubris personified.
Ever work for someone like that? Ever felt like that? Look at the quote.
Ahab became crazy; visibly personified his demons and had he been given the opportunity he would have used his heart- his very core of life- to inflict damage upon the Whale to meet his goals. Paints a very bold picture of a tragic hero. A person who is not leading with the best intentions for his team, company or family.
It is important for leaders to understand that they are not always right. They should rely on the counsel of others and take a step back when they are beginning to become consumed with their quest. Leadership is about far more than having people follow you. Leadership is about empowering the people you work with and looking out for the best interests of the team.
Think about your end goals. Jim Collins Says, “The most productive relationships are partnerships rooted in a freedom of choice vested in both parties to participate only in that which is mutually beneficial and uplifting.”
Before it becomes about you as the leader- write down the end goals and discuss how those can be achieved WITH YOUR TEAM. The idea is not to talk them into your position.
Leading is not about the leader- but about the goals. Just to leave you all with a note about a study done on Civil War leadership. The study showed- and I quote “…lack of information sharing and consensus building resulted in serious disadvantages (in battlefield losses). In the cases examined, the pressure for prompt decision making was not sufficient to justify the loss of information that resulted from the determination to act alone.”
Obligatory Picture of Me
Taking Life Apart- What Does That Mean?I have decided to talk more about what I want and not just what I do at work. I have had a fascination since I was a child with understanding how things work. I would and still do- dismantle things to see how they work. I believe I have begun to do this with my life experience in my writing. So- here is my attempt at explaining the world I have been tearing apart in order to live my life.