Absurd!: To Be a Professional One Must be an Amateur

by Ron Potter

Amateur stems from the Latin word amator, which means “lover,” Amateurs do what they do out of love. Love is fundamental to good leadership because leadership is all about caring.

Aristotle spoke of Love as being one of the key elements to the highest level of happiness. His other words included at that level are Trust, Beauty, and Unity. All traits of great teams. Great leaders care for their people. Farson says “Indeed, caring is the basis for community, and the first job of the leader is to build community, a deep feeling of unity, a fellowship. Community is one of the most powerful yet most fragile concepts in the building of organizations.”

I’m afraid the lovers of the arts would never understand or agree that leadership would fall into the same category as a great symphony or painting, but I’ve experienced that kind of joy when great teams really get on a roll. “Management and leadership are high arts. When they are working well, they compare favorably to the other great aesthetic moments of our lives, to symphonies and sunsets.”

Leaders like to think of themselves as professional and indeed they are. “But the amateur performs work out of love, out of sensuous pleasure in the act of accomplishment, in the creation of community, in the bonds of compassion that unite.”

Great teams are built with great leaders based on the highest level of happiness: Truth, Love, Beauty and Unity. Aristotle may not have been thinking about our corporate leadership teams of today when he explained the four levels of happiness. But our nation’s founding fathers knew it was relevant when they declared in our Declaration of Independence that we find life, liberty and the “pursuit of happiness” to be our unalienable Rights.

What will you do to be an amateur today?

I’m continuing my series on an in-depth look at a wonderful little book that’s twenty years old this year. The title is Management of the Absurd by Richard Farson. You may want to consider dropping back and reading the previous blog posts about ABSURD! I think it will put each new one in great context.

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