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The Panopticon called Leadership

Leadership is a conscious choice for sure, but I'm confused about living a life I love to live between a life they want me to live. Will this dilemma be ever resolved, it seems unlikely, however, when a path has been taken sincerely dedicate your life to it. I think there will be more satisfaction there.

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Source: The New York Times
Source: The New York Times

Do you know what a panopticon is? At the onset, let me explain a panopticon before I introduce my thoughts and dilemmas around leadership.

Jeremy Bentham, an English philosopher and social theorist in the mid-1700s, invented a social control mechanism that would become a comprehensive symbol for modern authority and discipline in the western world: a prison system called the Panopticon.

The basic principle for the design, which Bentham first completed in 1785, was to monitor the maximum number of prisoners with the fewest possible guards and other security costs. The layout consists of a central tower for the guards, surrounded by a ring-shaped building of prison cells.

Source: https://www.brown.edu/Departments/Joukowsky_Institute/courses/13things/7121.html

So, now do you think leadership is like a panopticon for a person, especially in this world dominated of a social media presence. As a leader and a celebrity, you’re trapped in this world of fame, you’re always being watched. Everyone wants to be like you. They cry when they meet you. They click selfies with you. You can never have things kept in the dark. Adam Smith, Daniel Defoe, and, Boorstin, they all talk about similar ideas. But does it get suffocating to you, or you purely enjoy the limelight?

Some leaders seem arrogant and happy go lucky. Some seem well polished and humble. Whatever your leadership style! Yet they love you. Does that mean leaders have to be always guarded and stay within their constraints? Probably not, probably showing vulnerabilities may be useful. But if you’re going to live a life where you are always watched, and digital content once out will be there for time immemorial, how much can you restrict yourself.

Leadership is a conscious choice for sure, but I’m confused about living a life I love to live between a life they want me to live. Will this dilemma be ever resolved, it seems unlikely, however, when a path has been taken sincerely dedicate your life to it. I think there will be more satisfaction there.

Enjoy it rather than suffocate in it. Be a role model for generations to come. Generally, I get a sense that people accept minor flaws in leaders such as the case of the 44th President of the United States of America – Barack Obama. 

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