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Emergence of a Global Misleadership Council

Misleading as vital to governance of the future? (Part #1)

Essential ambiguity of leadership and misleadership
Strategic leadership as essentially a "shell game" with potential opponents, followers and dissidents?
Avoidance of reference to misleadership
Unrecognized phenomena?
Criteria of misleadership
Exemplars of misleadership
Framing the interplay of leadership and misleadership
Framing the interplay of leadership and (mis)followership ( Annex 2 )
Humanity's need for great misleadership?
Appropriate celebration of "misleadership" -- and "misfollowership"?
Emergence of a Global Misleadership Council?

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The challenges of the future are widely acknowledged to be complex. Whilst people, including potential leaders, are increasingly well informed, it is not clear that information alone is sufficient to respond effectively to the foreseen challenges and to those that may emerge unexpectedly (cf Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: the impact of the highly improbable, 2007).

The need for appropriate leadership is also widely acknowledged -- as are controversial assessments of global leadership in respect of intervention in Iraq and of non-intervention in regions where wholesale massacre continues unabated on the largest scale since World War II. Such strategic decisions may be interpreted as skillful leadership or misleadership otherwise to be characterized as incompetence. However it is also the case that strategic leadership calls for the ability to mislead opponents in order to outmaneuver them, notably through surprise. Where followers cannot be fully informed of the strategy in order to maintain surprise, or where they cannot be expected to fully comprehend a complex strategy dependent on a wide range of factors, leadership also requires skillful misleadership of followers.

The following argument explores the interplay between such dimensions of leadership and misleadership. It is not an apology for misleadership and seeks to avoid entrapment in a binary logic defining leadership as necessarily "good" and misleadership as necessarily "bad". It seeks to raise the question of what is to be learnt from the different framings of the Iraq debacle -- for leaders and for followers. Will the capacity to respond be more appropriate on the next occasion?

This exploration develops arguments of an earlier paper (Sustainability through the Dynamics of Strategic Dilemmas -- in the light of the coherence and visual form of the Mandelbrot set, 2005) and its annexes (Psycho-social Significance of the Mandelbrot Set: a sustainable boundary between chaos and order, 2005; Imagination, Resolution, Emergence, Realization and Embodiment: iterative comprehension ordered via the dynamics of the Mandelbrot set, 2005). As the most complex mathematical object discovered, it is appropriate to explore the use of the Mandelbrot set as a means of ordering humanity's ability to comprehend and respond appropriately to its most complex strategic dilemmas. The argument also points to the significance of traditional strategic insights from Asian cultures.

In the light of the above factors, the purpose of the paper is to frame the question of whether the present times are seeing the emergence of what amounts to a Global Misleadership Council. Whether or not this is the case, how should appropriate misleadership be cultivated, and distinguished from that of a more incompetent or malevolent form? What then are the complementary considerations for misfollowership under different forms of misleadership?

complementary considerations for misfollowership under different forms of misleadership?

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