The recent shutdown of our Government really saddens me. It’s not that I don’t have a patriotic mind. I do value our forefather’s values, and I do value our people. What’s currently going on; however, is not a proper reflection of the values I’ve grown to love. It is, in fact, and example of bad government leadership in action. I’ve written before about the leadership values of Disney. I cherish them, and I look to others in leadership positions to exhibit them. They’re not just for business, but let’s face it – our government is business. The values are Openness, Respect, Courage, Honesty, Integrity, Diversity, and Balance. I’m not suggesting every Government leader is a bad leader by the way. In contrast I think many of them (regardless of affiliation) are great. I do think; however, that the good leaders are sadly (1) silenced by the media, and (2) out-voiced by the more aggressive personalities of the bad leaders. This being said, let’s just highlight the big guy – the President. Bear in mind also that in my view a good leader needs to embrace each of these values, not just a few.
Openness. Does anyone out there really believe that he’s been entirely open on even the most non-confidential issues? I genuinely believe that his first priority is to deflect blame from himself to others. I don’t think what he’s seeing in the mirror is what the majority of us are seeing – a person genuinely lacking confidence of his own. Maybe I’m wrong, as the best I can go by is what I’m seeing in photos. Yes, I’m one of those that read’s the most, not in words, but in faces. What I see most often is a very angry person. Almost the same face I see in my four year old when he doesn’t get his way at the playground. I see a manipulative face. A sort of swagger that implies he’s got an ability to talk himself out of any hot water he lands in. Openness also relates to his accessibility to others. I don’t know enough on his leadership (one on one’s) to speak intelligently on it, but my guess is he’s less apt to be open to those who oppose him as he is open to those who steadfastly support him.
Respect. While I recognize that this is a pretty broad topic, I’ll isolate a few ways I think he lacks respect. No doubt he respects a lot of things, but good leaders respect even the opposition. I’m not a person that thinks everyone should have a gun for instance. I do value and respect; however, those of us that own them and use them responsibly. Using words such as “clinging to religion, guns, etc.”, is not a use of words that implies a respect for people right out of the gates- even the opposition. More recently, I think the President’s lack of respect is seen in his rapport (or lack thereof) with foreign governments. I’m sure we could find “gaffs” made by any number of Presidents. They’ve all got them for sure. What I am suggesting; however, is that this President does not respect all sides and openly makes it clear. The point on gay marriage is yet another point worth pointing out. He’s a clear advocate for same sex marriage (as am I by the way). He fails; however, at trying to unify the opposition. Sure there’s going to be those that will never agree. It’s his job as a leader though to (1) show respect for the opposition, and (2) do his best to convey his message in such a manner that will keep the discussion moving toward a positive outcome. His approach has pretty much shut the door to anyone on the opposite side coming to even the center. I think through his leadership he has created a very fervent following. Such is the case when you steadfastly take a side. Good leaders don’t lead only their favorites though. It’s not a reality of this world we’re living in.
Courage. Does he have courage? I don’t know for sure. I do know that it takes a lot of courage to bridge the gap with the opposition. It takes courage to motivate a team toward a favorable outcome. While I see his team as being the legislative branch, I don’t see him doing a good job of bringing them together. I realize it’s tough to bring people with differing views toward the center. It’s the role of leadership to do so however, in order to get even the most basic work done. He may actually have courage. Remember; though, that even the most reckless people have courage. A good leader needs to master (and have balance) administering ALL of these leadership principles.
Integrity. This is the big one. Not only does every great leader need to have it, they need to have it at the forefront of their mindset. How is our president following through on promises? I won’t go into detail on this too much. My personal view; however, is that he’s failed miserably at (1) following through, and (2) taking responsibility for why things haven’t eventuated. Leadership in the business world is merit based – rewards based on actual accomplishments. Let’s face it – government is business. It’s revenue based, it has operating guidelines, and it has leaders administering these guidelines. I truly believe that if our President were in a genuine business leadership position, even at an entry level, he would have termed long ago.
Diversity. A lot of people see diversity as a “black and white” issue. Sadly, I might even go as far as believing our President see’s it as such. This topic doesn’t just relate to cultural diversity, it relates to peoples views on things. The gun issue, the abortion issue, the gay issue, these are all issues of diversity. Until a leader’s able to genuinely appreciate the diverse nature of people’s views, they will not succeed as leaders. Not everyone’s views are even ethical mind you. Understanding diversity means understanding why they’ve got these views. I’m not sure our President has an open mind enough to understand what diversity truly is.
Balance. Again, I think our President fails miserably at this. Balance doesn’t exclusively relate to how you live your own life, it relates to how you build an environment for your teams to live and work in a balanced environment. I (as does probably most of the world) believe there is too much relaxation taking place in politics. There needs to be much more structure, much less golf, and a more dedicated collaborative approach to problem solving.
I realize I’ve been critical of our President in writing this. Why am I even thinking a team of dark suits with guns will be picking my kid up from school today? I haven’t always thought this way. The fact is, I don’t trust our government anymore. Why? Because I think they are (by and large) genuinely bad, egocentric leaders who don’t have the best interests of all of us as their priority. From a pure leadership perspective, they are in fact entry level government leaders at best. Sorry everyone. I’m hoping not to lose friends here. Hopefully you can respect the fact I’ve had the courage to present a diverse view.