Today I went on a bike ride with my dear friend Elizabeth. We rode along the lake in the middle of a Tuesday, defiantly giving the figurative finger to all of downtown Chicago as if to say, “Hey worker bees! Look at us breathing in freedom air! And I’m not even wearing a helmet!” And it is true. I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Because I believe that I’m best tactless rather than being intact (Do you see what I did there? That’s a fucking Mensa joke.) But seriously, don’t be cool like me. Wear a helmet.
Anyway, we talked about leadership: what it means, how to do it, challenges, and ways to still point fingers when something goes terribly, terribly wrong ala “I Love Lucy.”
Although I’ve never seen myself as a leader, I often involve myself in activities where, suddenly, I look around and I’m at the center of the circle, the front of the line, the boar of the nursery (that’s the man of the raccoon pack to the unenlightened). I don’t know why this is. I’m not especially competent or bright. I think I’m terribly indecisive, but I’m sure my opinion can be swayed if someone convinced me otherwise. And I hate offending people. And I especially hate bossing them around. (I’d make the shittiest sheep dog ever, if I were a sheep dog. Which I’m not!) So why am I a natural-born leader, as a recent Facebook test identified me as?
Here’s the secret about being a leader: Team up with losers. That’s right! If you aren’t too bright, then you should only surround yourself with majorly incompetent people. I’m talking about bathing with a toaster radio stupid; I’m talking about playing golf on Lightening Island stupid; I’m talking Britney Spears after a bong-a-thon stupid. If you surround yourself with people who can’t tie their own shoes, and then you tie their shoes for them, they will think you are a god. Double-plus good if you’re beautiful and they are all double-baggers (This is when you have sex with someone who is so ugly, their face must be obscured by two bags instead of the usual one. I should note that a double bagger implies the use of paper bags. Plastic bags denotes sexual excitement derived from cold-blooded murder. Small but significant difference.)
Of course surrounding yourself with lessors who worship you is fun. But it won’t really accomplish anything. I mean, you might be leading a ship (i.e. captaining), but if your crew eats paint chips, you’re probably going to sail in circles until you get scurvy or gay pirate sexed (which is way better than scurvy).
This is why the other method to becoming a leader is optimal, which is to be a fair, empathetic person who strives for best but not perfect. This person must be able to identify someone’s top skills and find a way to capitalize on them. For example, let’s say you have an egghead mathematician kind of guy. You don’t want him proofreading documents or hitting on women. You want him doing calculations and quietly masturbating in his VW on his lunch breaks. Or say you have someone who is good at painting. You don’t want them creating an Excel spreadsheet. You want them to stop asking you for change on the street corner. Get my jist? No? Neither do I.
The point is, if you’re going to be a leader, be a good people person and strive to make every team member happy. By utilizing their skills, they will feel fulfilled and purposeful. By empathizing with them, they will see you as compassionate. And although you must be kind, you must be firm. Being indecisive or indirect only fosters a distrust among your team and will call them to question your skills and judgment. And of course, be willing to admit when you have made a mistake because this will help people think you’re not a monster (especially after you club their children and make bread out of their bones).
Oh, and always have a scapegoat on hand in case everything you touch turns to shit (the Sadim touch as I call it (Midas spelled backward)).