Why is Leadership Required for Survival? (The Answer)

Why is Leadership Required for Survival

Someone asked the question: “Why has leadership become required for survival?”

The thing about leadership, at least as far as I can see and find, is that leadership has always been required for survival.


Because, as John Maxwell says, everything rises and falls on leadership. Everything. The success of a company, church, venture, outing, whatever it may be, the success of it depends on the leadership involved.

No Bad Teams, Just Bad Leaders

Jocko WIllink and Leif Babin in their book Extreme Ownership, say that there are no bad teams, just bad leaders. In the book, they discuss boat exercises performed by navy seal recruits in their boot camp.

One team was doing extremely well, winning 1st every time or close to it, and another team was consistently last or at the back. Those leading the exercises decided to switch the leaders of both boats.

The boat that had been doing terribly began doing well and winning. The boat that was doing worse still kept doing well because of the teamwork and the team had developed before receiving the not-as-good leader.

Other examples:

Other examples of this are plentiful. Smarter Faster Better discusses how when Toyota first started a plant in the US, they used an old GM factory and were required to hire at least 80% of the former workers. That GM factory with its workers was known to be the worst factory. Drugs, prostitution, intentional damage – all were part of the norm of the factory.

Toyota had to keep 80% of those workers. However, the factory become one of the most productive because of the change in management and the way the leaders led.

Simon Sinek in The Infinite Game discusses a police force that changed the culture of the force itself from negative to very positive and even changed the image and involvement of the force with the community for good all because of a change of leadership.

An exception to the rule

Yes, as we saw in the example from Willink and Babin, the team continued to perform well even after switching leaders because of how they were developed. However, in most companies, over time that will diminish as people leave and the culture changes, if negative leadership takes charge.

Everything depends on leadership

Everything depends on leadership

The success of a company, a venture, or whatever, all depends on leadership. Leadership determines:

The culture of the company

It’s ultimately on the leader to create the culture they want in the company. It’s up to them to hire the right people (and remove the wrong people), create the safety that people need, and institute the values and purpose behind the company.

Whatever values or changes or purposes a leader proposes, it’s up to the leader to model and communicate them. If they don’t do it, it won’t happen.

Give purpose

It’s the leader’s job to not only give the purpose and vision of the organization or group but to lead them to that purpose. Great leaders not only cast an overall vision, they learn the goals and purposes of the individuals who work for them, help accomplish them, and show them how their purposes align with the group’s or company’s purpose.

Drive motivation and engagement

The reason many people leave a company is because of their manager or boss. According to Gallup’s research, only 30% of U.S. employees, and 13% worldwide, are engaged. The reason employee engagement is so low is because of poor leadership.

Great leaders build great cultures that give people purpose, and motivation, and help employees be engaged in their work.

Determines productivity

The behaviors and actions of a leader ultimately determine the productivity of their employees. It starts with the hiring and who they hire. But more than that, it’s determined by the culture they create. If they create an environment of fear, a gotcha environment, employees will be less productive. They will do what is easy and the bare minimum.

If they provide a great culture with purpose, it motivates and inspires people to work their best and to be more productive.

Guide through change

Change happens whether we want it or not. We can try to hide from it, but it’s to our detriment. Good leaders embrace change and help guide others through it.

Why is leadership required for survival?

Why is leadership required for survival?

Because everything depends on leadership.

That’s why building and creating great leaders is so important. That’s why it’s important that leaders continue to grow and train.

If we raise the level of leadership in our organizations and our world, it will have a tremendous positive impact on us all.

If you have any questions, suggestions, ideas, disagreements, or anything we missed, please let us know in the comments below.

You can find more related articles here.


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