Control and Leadership – What’s The Difference?

In today’s political climate (and I mean the last 30 years) I have grown more aware that there is no leadership in governments of any size, particularly Provincial and Federal (or State and Federal in the USA) anywhere in the world. As a Historian, this lack of leadership, bureaucratic sloth and corruption have endured since civilization began. This behaviour is completely unacceptable. The question no one seems to be asking (and therefore taking responsibility and action over) is not can we change this; but how do we change it?

Let us be honest with ourselves. We have to. For the good of the planet, the good of the next generations. Above all, though, we must change this for us, so that we can live and breathe and be happy in our lives in the here and now. Our immediate happiness is the reason we must change our political structures. No one is happy with the system, expect those who run it. That’s a given. Rulers (not leaders) and the bureaucracy that follows them are always concerned with personal ego and maintaining the status quo.


What is the Status Quo?

It means keeping things as they are. Another word is stagnation. Governments and Bureaucracies are unconcerned – and terrified – with change. Why do you think they move so slowly. Change is, from this point of view evil and something not to be thought of. Instead, the politicians and high-level bureaucrats run everyone around in circles and never do anything. You don’t believe me – pick up a newspaper or watch the evening news and listen to the jargon and state of affairs in any govt. ‘We’ll get to it after we have a meeting scheduled after the committee when it is formed. Expect an answer in about 30 years time.’ this means the politicians are doing everything in their power to ignore the issue and get on with their personal agendas.


True leadership is about the act, skill, and talent of listening. It is about hearing and observing what other people need. It is about doing whatever it takes. Lead from behind or even the middle, of the group. It’s a better perspective. This is not about Rulership in war where the generals tell everyone what to do, not actually get involved in fighting. Leadership is about taking charge and providing others with the tools to carry out their goals. In the political arena, this should be about assuring everyone has a quality of life that is acceptable, not about feeding the rich or special interest groups; that is rulership.


In politics, this is the current state of affairs; the status quo of corruption. Rulership is about the personal agenda, of accomplishing what I/my party/special interest groups wish. This is not about harmonization or the good of the people or even the good of the land. This is about greed, corruption and self-interest. Take a look at politicians and political parties, even tyrants the world over. They’re interested in one thing – themselves. In my opinion, Steven Harper (the ‘esteemed’ and ‘honourable’) does not appear to care a whit about the people. He cares about his personal agenda, his immediate family, his party. He, like every other politician in federal government, cares nothing about the opposition party point of view. There is not listening done, no compromise, no willingness to work together for the greater good.

In provincial politics, Premiere Gordon Campbell (British Columbia) behaved the same way, in my opinion. His party even appointed someone to replace him.  This was not a vote across the province! These, to me, are examples of bepotism and corruption at the very best. The system itself is about rulership, not leadership. (see Choosing Leaders blog, next week)


In the political landscape (by this I mean both the politicians themselves and the high-level bureaucrats) control is another word for ego. It isn’t influence. Control is about forced direction, not going with the flow. It’s about serving the self, not the good of the most. Control equals Agenda, one controlled itself by the ego. Control is about having your way no matter what the cost, usually with the pleas of having others proved wrong and you right. Control is manipulation and it has run rampant across the globe. Control and Greed go hand in hand. Influence and honesty, integrity, justice and respect – these ethical requirements for a good society do not exist when control and ego rule.


Influence is the opposite of control. True influence is about integrity, awareness, and a willingness to express opinion with the sincerely hope that others will learn from that opinion and chose to follow it. There is no control involved. Nor is there judgement when and if others chose to go their own way. Influence is the acceptance that, while your opinions and thoughts, your concerns and suggestions for improvement are voiced, you are accepting others opinions and willing to bend with them as well to generate and create something even better.

Examples of Control and Rulership:

BC Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)– while it might have been a good thing for British Columbia’s economy, the ethics on how it was achieved displayed a lack of respect and a great deal of fear and mistrust of the public. The HST was rushed through with limited consultation and no vote by the people. As this was a topic that effected everyone province-wide it should have been discussed above-board and voted in a provincial referendum. By this lack of trust and respect, the leading political party is immediately guilty of treasonous acts – treason against the people.

Appointed Premiere, not elected – Yet another example of traitorous acts is the appointment by politicians of politicians. Here in British Columbia, Canada, Premiere Gordon Campbell stepped down. His successor selected by him and his party was Ms. Christy Clarke. Certainly she was elected to her riding as a member of the legislative assembly, yet she was appointed, not elected to the post of Premiere. Neither was Mr. Gordon Campbell elected to the post of Premiere by the majority of citizens. Nor was any predecessor. (see next week’s blog, Choosing a Leader). This shows a need to keep up political custom, not democratic or constitutional law and certainly not ethics and morality of a democracy.

In summary, control and rulership are not leadership. They are ego-driven and not ethically and morally driven to meet a better way of life for all concerned. Yes, leadership can be about making the hard decision – but in communication and talks with everyone concerned, not by making a decision based on the needs of a party or lobby group. We have a long way to go to create a true democracy. We need to start by putting trust back in the hands of the people, of acting on good-faith and the interest of all concerned, not just party-politics and ego.

Until next week, remember, these are my opinions and point of view on the subject. That doesn’t make them right for anyone else. It doesn’t make them wrong, either. That stated, if any errors or omissions have occurred, please let me know. I’d be grateful for your point of view.

Warm regards,

Jason Smeraka


About jsmeraka

A writer and all-round contrarian, I've worked in and out of government and the private sector, shared radical thoughts on political and global change and aimed to live on the fringe of political and creative thought. That doesn't mean I do. I just hope so.
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