Patriot’s Day today, but what is a “patriot”? Leadership and Management expert Bret Simmons did a fine piece on the balance and duality of leadership titled ‘Patriots and Citizens’.

  • “In his brilliant book entitled ‘Post-Capitalist Society,’ Peter Drucker discussed the difference between patriotism and citizenship: ‘Patriotism is the willingness to die for one’s country…. People – and especially working people – are still willing to die for their country, even in the least popular of wars. But patriotism alone is not enough. There has to be citizenship as well. Citizenship is the willingness to contribute to one’s country. It means the willingness to live – rather than die – for one’s country.’ (p.171) Organizational life also produces patriotic and citizenship behavior among employees and managers. I would not want to work for an organization that did not inspire patriotism from its employees. I don’t mind being called upon to make an extreme sacrifice, but that call should be rare and not routine. I want to be defined by my citizenship, not my patriotism. I want to be striving to thrive, not fighting to survive. It’s difficult to focus on citizenship when your organizational life is on the line daily. An organization void of citizens has no heart, no soul. Patriotism may facilitate short term survival, but only citizenship ensures consistent growth and health. Citizens are the engine of corporate vitality and competitiveness.”

He perspective parallels my piece on Rights and Responsibilities. Patriots laid their life on the lines to stand up for their Rights. But good Citizen must stand up to their Responsibilities as well.

Leaders inspire patriotism; Managers inspire citizenship. Both together are needed for a healthy body politic.