Leader with Ambition – good or bad for Governance?

Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.”- Napoleon Bonaparte

Generally, It is good to have an ambition. It is the driving force and provides resilience to individuals to rise every time they fall. Without ambition it would be difficult to drive an organization to success. Ambition is a strong desire to achieve something in life. A person without any ambition is like a boat without rudder. Having an ambition needs continuous efforts towards achieving it.

Ambition can also be a flaw that severely damages an organization. If the leader of the organization is selfish with an ambition that is about he or she alone achieving success, then it can be harmful. Leaders with a selfish ambition will do whatever it takes for them as individuals to be successful.  They will bend rules, manipulate data and would not hesitate to divide and rule.  Because this type of ambition has little regard for the organization gaining recognition, employees and co-workers are viewed as pawns to be used by the leader as a means to reach his selfish goal. If the set goals cannot be achieved they’ll adjust the goals to make them look good.

It’s apt to quote Confucius here, who said; “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” 

However, despite ambition being often associated with negative characteristics such as greed, intolerance, ruthlessness and the drive for power, ambition is good for progress. It can be good if the corporate culture is based on ethics and the values of the leader are based on good principles. A leader with a selfish ambition typically surrounds themselves with yes men who tell the leader what he wants to hear.  They, together stifle progress and cause a brain drain in the organization. 

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About surenraj

“Views expressed are my own”
This entry was posted in Governance and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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