Leadership, The Loose Cannon & The Lone Ranger

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What can leadership learn from the loose cannon and the lone ranger?

The loose cannon is a person who is expected to perform a particular task, but who is out of control and dangerous. It refers to an irresponsible and reckless individual, whose behaviour endangers the group he or she belongs to.

The lone ranger in contrast is a solitary, sometimes heroic and mysterious person who is always seemingly alone in a wilderness that he does not quite call home, but alongside the lone ranger there is always his side kick Tonto riding beside him.

The challenge that many in leadership have is to clearly define the difference between a loose cannon and a lone ranger.

The loose cannon is about destruction, whereas the lone ranger is about justice.

The loose cannon is about undermining, whereas the lone ranger is about upholding.

The loose cannon is the leader of dissension, whereas the lone ranger is the leader of discussion.

So what do we, as leaders, do with those who are loose cannons? Let them explode, for what they sow they will reap. Secure the friendship of those whom may have come under the spell of the loose cannon, and when the fallout occurs, and it will, then there will be a greater chance of restoration of those who have been unwittingly following the loose cannon – the one whose only plan was ever to destroy.

But then what do you do with the maverick – the one who exhibits great independence in both thought and action – the lone ranger? Whatever you do, don’t confuse him with the loose cannon. He may be a small team player, but his heart is for the welfare and benefit of others. He is always on a mission, but wishes at all times to be disguised. He doesn’t want the accolades of men. He simply wants to get on with what he has been called to do. He wants no rewards. He operates in secret. He works in virtually solitary environments.

Leaders, eventhough you may not always find them easy to understand, don’t discard your lone rangers. Embrace them. For although they may not choose to be part of all that you do, every time, when the chips are down they will be there, sometimes at the eleventh hour, in your darkest of nights, with only one thought in mind, and that is to support, to rescue and to encourage.

Lone rangers are leaders of their own thoughts. They march to a different beat. They refuse to follow the crowd. They are independent of thought. They question motives, and even their own, but seek to stay true to their own heart. They may take longer to be brought into loyalty for a cause, but when they finally come they will stick.

Learn to be a leader of lone rangers, many who are entrepreneurial in nature and character, and gain their loyalty through love, flexibility and understanding, and you will become a leader of leaders.

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