We've all heard of Yuri Gagarin, the first human to reach outer space. But few have heard about his best friend, fellow cosmonaut, Vladimir Kamarov, who died literally crashing into Earth. The most horrifying part of his death, recently covered in NPR's science blog, was that most of the Russian staff knew the ship had serious problems. But, as was true in most of the Soviet Union, no one was willing to be the messenger to tell Russian leadership.
This reminded me of something I shared years ago; a video critique of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The main reason given for the tragedy that became the Star Wars prequels, was that no one was willing to challenge George Lucas. He was the after all the creator of not only the Star Wars, but also Indiana Jones, American Graffiti, and THX 1138. Those accomplishments limited his ability to receive feedback from those around him. That's why I think he and Spielberg made such a good team. When Lucas suggested calling the most recent Indiana Jones film Indiana Jones and the Flying Saucer people, Steven said no.
The more responsibility I get at my school or at the theater, the more I realize that what makes a good leader is the people they lead. A good boss hires good people and then lets them succeed. The worst thing a leader can do is separate themselves from those that they lead. We must embrace that we all make mistakes, and rely on those around us to limit them. So as this great blog posts describes, if you are a prominent leader (whether you're a dictator or famed movie director), be sure to realize that your cult of personality only signals support if people are over-supporting you.