lights illusion delusion
Image by Derek Robinson from Pixabay

The pandemic is forcing us to confront reality everyday. One reality is the lack of competent and ethical leadership worldwide.

Many leaders are obsessed with PR-optics over actually doing their job.

I think this is another example of the recent trend of looking to marketing and PR to solve problems. Instead of actually solving the problem. Marketing and PR have their place, but that place is arguably not in operations.

These days, if a “leader” looks and sounds good, the masses will believe them they have leadership abilities. This is an extension of the "someone looks beautiful so they must be kind/good/trustworthy" fallacy we seem hardwired to believe.

And so we elect those with the good optics as “leaders”, especially if they also appeal to our biases. Once in power, these “leaders” use marketing/PR manipulations to reinforce the narrative that they are, indeed, tremendous and great. The masses lap up the manipulations blindly. Perhaps because we are so used to just lapping up marketing and advertising messages. Especially when these also align to our identity.

The Dunning-Krueger effect comes into play, too. These “leaders” buy into their own marketing/PR spin wholeheartedly. This, in a weird way, makes them “authentic” to their constructed facade.

It is a vicious cycle. The more these “leaders” manipulate the masses (and not do their job of leading,) the more the masses buy into these often divisive manipulations. Critical thinking, empathy, togetherness and other laudable community qualities are suspended in preference for identity-fuelled outrage. We lose sight of what leadership is. We may no longer be able to recognise a true leader. Not unless they came with top-notch PR.

The impact of poor, incompetent, or actively injurious leadership is none more keenly felt at a time like this. And yet, are the masses baying for better or actual leadership? Or are we engaging in even more factional fighting, sypcophanty, and excusing poor leadership performance on spurious grounds?

This is truly the age of delusion. We are immersing ourselves in it to our collective detriment.