Comment on the notion that anyone can steer a ship, but it takes a leader to chart a course. What does this mean? Do you agree with this? Can you give some examples?
“Anyone can steer a ship, but it takes a leader to chart a course” is a very strong statement that I very much agree with. This simply means that anyone can guide a group to an end destination but without a leader having planned out the proper steps to get there, the end goal will not be achieved without the expense of others. Good leaders will take the time to determine what the end goal is and determine the best route for success. They will determine who they need along for the ride, the resources that they need, and how they can work together to reach the end goal (Maxwell, 2007).
One example of this statement is Roald Amundsen planned to lead his team to Antarctica. He took the time to carefully plan out each step of their trip and what the best course of action would be for transporting all of the equipment and supplies while using dogsleds. He made sure not to overwork his dogs or people each day and made sure they they had adequate apparel to stay warm. He and his team made it back with ease (Maxwell, 2007).
An example that shows what happens when a leader doesn’t take adequate time to plan was the group led by Robert Falcon Scott to Antarctica. He looked only at the end goal and did not plan each step and make sure the team had the proper resources that they needed. Instead of dogsleds, he used motorized sledges and ponies. The motors in the sledges stopped working shortly after the trip started and the ponies didn’t make it due to the frigid temperatures. Most of his men grew sick with infections because they did not have proper clothing. They made it to Antarctica but over a month later than Amundsen and not one man was able to make it all the way back (Maxwell, 2007). This was all poor leadership and he and his team lost their lives at his expense.
The above statement can apply to any field of work even if life or death situations are not involved. Leaders have to take the time to look at the whole picture rather than just jumping into something and believing that the end result will come easy.
Maxwell, J. C., (2007) The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, TN.