When leadersayswhat began five years ago, its purpose was to promote positive leadership. We wanted a medium to publicize the extensive amount of research that has been conducted proving that those who practice the tenets of positive leadership have a greater likelihood of achieving success both for themselves and their organizations. It was a simple concept and considered to be fairly obvious…or so we thought.
Recent political happenings have shown that support behind positive leadership is not necessarily a given. Over the last four years, America has endured a leader who promotes toxic ideals, propagates societal cynicism, rejects basic truths, and forgoes national needs in favor of personal interests. Even worse, his behavior has inspired others to follow suit long after his term ends.
If you are frustrated, you are not alone. For anyone who has ever worked under, with, or near someone in a leadership role, it should be obvious that leaders don’t blatantly lie. It should be obvious that leaders don’t resort to insulting those who might disagree. It should be obvious that leaders don’t arbitrarily make large-scale policy decisions. It should be obvious that leaders don’t show favoritism to those who shower them with compliments. And it should be obvious that leaders don’t threaten to punish (or lock up) opponents.
However, what some see as obvious is not so apparent to others. This is explained in the book Trump on Leadership: Executive-ish Strategies for Tough Time, which pens itself as a ‘what NOT to do guide.’ It compares Trump’s leadership to a fishing leader. When fishing, the leader will “lead” fish into the trap. Since many fishing lines are highly visible underwater, the fishing leader makes it difficult for fish to see the line connected to your lure, thus tricking fish into taking the bait. In much the same way, Trump tricks people into thinking he’s a successful businessman with his tough-guy bravado and shameless self-promotion. The facts show otherwise, but then Trump created ‘alternate facts’ to make us question truth.
While it may feel like the tenets of positive leadership are in question, they are not. One bad leader cannot destroy the common good, no matter how hard he may try…UNLESS WE LET HIM. Democracy demands persistent involvement and action. To show your engagement, consider these ten leadership mandates:
- We must seek leaders who want to solve problems beyond just “winning.”
- We must seek leaders who listen to and surround themselves with subject matter experts.
- We must seek leaders who prioritize the health and well-being of those they serve.
- We must seek leaders who can control displays of strong emotions.
- We must seek leaders who do not consider compromise to be a weakness.
- We must seek leaders who try to bring people together.
- We must seek leaders who have such confidence that they do not feel the need to self-aggrandize.
- We must seek leaders who crave both professional development and personal growth.
- We must seek leaders who are willing to say, “I was wrong,” “I don’t know,” and “I am sorry.”
- We must seek leaders who prioritize power over influence, confidence over competence, and command over collaboration.
This is not an endorsement for a particular candidate. This is a plea for America to choose a leader who actually cares about people, who cares about the future of the country. You know what, forget what I just said. This is absolutely an endorsement. Trump has shown that he is not capable (and is not interested) in any of the tenets leaders should aspire towards. He has a lifetime track record of looking out for himself without any concern for the greater good, ethical ramifications, or long term impacts. That is not how a business leader should conduct himself and it is certainly not acceptable for the leader of a country.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, is the polar opposite. I could list all the ways he is different from Trump, but it is easier if you just reread the ten leadership mandates above. Biden fulfills each of them, and has done so throughout his entire life.
This political race is a battle for the future of the country. We say that with every election, but this one is different. No president has ever pushed the limits of democracy like Donald Trump. And no one but Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can get it back on track.
Let’s make leadership great again! Please.