Sunday, November 4, 2012

Take Me to Your Leader

photo courtesy of

Well here we are again facing another Presidential election and the last few months have been filled with debates, speculation and Facebook posts about each candidate.  As a student of Leadership I'm amazed at the things that have been publicized that are most important to voters.  My biggest concern over this election is the obvious swing towards choosing a candidate that supports each voters personal agenda.  This is alarming because that isn't how we should elect our leaders - yet it does appear that this is how our society undertakes the privilege of voting.

The Purpose of Governance

In the last decade we have seen the fallout that happens when those in positions of leadership use their authority to achieve the goals of a select few.  Governance is not a process of order taking but is designed to promote leaders who can look at the big picture make decisions that do the most good for the majority of people.  Social responsibility is an area where the long view is key and good leaders attempt to leave things in a better state than when they arrived.

Corporate Leadership vs. National Leadership

What are the qualifications of an able leader?  Are they different for those in the corporate realm and the political arena?  As I've mentioned in previous posts many people elect leaders based on the Trait Approach to Leadership.  They see traits such as charisma, intelligence, persistence, self-confidence and sociability as the traits that determine able leadership.  But possessing those traits doesn't necessarily qualify a leader to effectively lead.  Traits don't ensure that a leader is capable of effectively and efficiently governing and most businesses would require more a more practical, defined set of qualifications when hiring for a position of leadership. As voters should we require anything different?

Societal worldview has a great influence in determining what the public deems important.  In this era of celebrity worship I think it is important to remind us that the office of President is a position of public service.  Public servants are obligated to pursue service to their constituents rather than working toward their own self-interests (or toward the agendas of lobbyists).  This requires humility and a willingness to become deeply accountable to the public for the results of their decisions.

Effective leadership also builds credibility when it develops the capacity to liberate leadership in others.  When analyzing political leadership let's be reminded that our American government is a government For the people and By the people.  This means leaders and constituents are mutually responsible for the same effects.  Leaders that encourage shared decision making and promote collaborative, team-oriented discussions build public confidence and corporate responsibility.  Leaders that empower that same ability in those they lead create a culture of strong, collaborative leaders capable of the same types of leadership for the next generation as well. 

Lastly, effective political leaders are qualified for the positions they hold by experience.  They should have a track record that speaks to their ability to effectively govern.  We should be looking at what governmental positions they held previously and how well they fared in those roles.  I'm not sure this in an area where transferable skills are plausible, at least they shouldn't be considered as valid as those true experiential qualifications.

Now What?

We are so fortunate to live in this great country and if you have the ability to vote I encourage you to do so.  The future of this country is entirely up to us so take a look at our candidates and vote for the one you feel is most qualified for the job.  Should you think that we have choices that don't meet those qualifications it's up to us to make sure that next time we have a more qualified selection. 

It's Your Turn:

What are your thoughts on this post? (Please no political endorsements) Was there something here that made you think?  Did you find that this perspective was different or similar to the position you have held regarding political leadership?  I look forward to reading your responses!

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