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People power

Posted on: August 11, 2014

Video source

This is a viral video of people who pushed a train to free a man whose leg got stuck between the train and the platform.

The people could have waited for official help to arrive. They could have listened to the guidelines or obeyed the law about leaving things to the authorities.

Instead they collectively took matters into their own hands. They not only helped the official free the man, they also helped themselves by reducing the train delay.

There is the madness of mobs and there is the wisdom of crowds. The former tends to arise from fear, ignorance, and tight rules. The latter tend to come from places of openness, shared knowledge, and trust.

Leaders do not have to leave things to chance. You can create the conditions for madness or nurture a culture for wisdom. You can try to control people like a herd or you can learn to manage them as individuals.

The most effective modern leaders know this: To have people power, you must empower people. If you leave and the people cannot move forward on their own or find leaders in their ranks, you were never a leader in the first place.

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