Update: Masters Thesis has been marked with a grade that suggests it’s not terrible, you can read it here.
Doing this work provokes a lot of questions from people about what I really think about leadership development, much in the same vein that most people want to know what leadership really is; as I’ve seen from doing this research, there are a lot of people who would love to tell you. As I said in my prologue, I’ve embarked on a leadership development journey of my own with all the bells and whistles we’ve discussed. Many people assumed that working on an industry I participate with in a critical way would make me cynical about the whole thing, but that’s not what a critical perspective means to me.
I think being critical on a subject stems from being exceptionally passionate about that thing; from caring about something so much that you want to understand it, and then caring about it so much more that you want to make it better. That’s how I feel about leadership and leadership development.
So despite engaging in this work, the world’s problems will continue to look to me like they can be solved by more and better leadership, you’ll still hear me debating what the true meaning of leadership is or what real leadership development is. Because I love the idea, I like the fact that it escapes comprehension so much that we have to continually reinvent our understanding of it and that there is something undeniably romantic about being given opportunities on the basis of possessing some indefinable quality, even if that notion is a little narcissistic.
This work is important to me. As you read this I’ve already stepped into the door of my new job where people are expecting me to do leadership everyday – apparently I now have the credentials. So I’m going to take this work, which in part is about how ideas become important, and I’m going to help other people do that with theirs. One day sometime soon, that idea will probably be leadership, or, whatever they think will save the world next. But for now, leadership will go back to being something I partake in, promote, practice, and (even if I’m afraid to admit it) believe in.