Politics and Leadership

Any one looking at the current group of people who want to President have to notice that there seems to be a lack of leadership. It is even true of the current occupant of the White House. Instead of leading, he seems to be more focused on re-election and playing to his base. He says one thing but in reality is doing the opposite. It is the same a lot of times with many organizations. The best politicians do not make the best leaders. Why does it seem that there is such a shortage of leaders at the very moment in history when we need them most.

The answer is that a good politician does not make a good leader. The ‘art’ of politics is to please as many people as possible. The best way to do that is to give them ‘red meat’ or tell them what they want to hear exactly as they want to hear it. You build a base of power with a specific group of people.  The ‘art’ of leadership is to have a vision, adapt and often times do what people do not want because it is needed.  Leadership is fundamentally about actions.  Politics is about words.  It helps a good leader in many ways to be a good politician, especially the ability to communicate a message clearly and effectively to others.  However, a politican can be a hypocrite, flattering those above them who have a direct impact on their ability to ‘climb the ladder’.

The reason that I am writing this is that there seem to be a lot of politicians but no leaders running to lead the United States right now.  The same, unfortunately, can even be said of the current occupant.  Sometimes it is difficult to be a leader because you have to make decisions that are in the country or organization’s best interest and they may upset your ‘base’.  When decisions are made to get “elected” or “re-elected” because they appease a certain group/ideology and because they promote your individual self-interest, you are acting as a politician and not a leader.  It seems that that is what is happening now with the current budget crisis.  As you read the various press, it becomes clear that instead of working to solve the crisis there is a paralysis as both sides pander to their respective bases.  Leadership is often the art of compromise to solve a problem and when people are simply speaking empty rhetoric above each other rather than offering solid plans to solve a problem.

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