Qualities for leaders
February 4, 2008
Looking for a measure of leadership to apply to the candidates? Well here are two. We face unprecedented challenges, whether it is climate change, Iraq, economic instability, global ethnic and religious extremism, rising world energy costs, or the next crisis de jur, the new leader must bring some Churchill-like qualities.The first is respect. Respect for the role of the loyal opposition has been sadly lacking from both sides in politics and without it, we can anticipate enduring more governmental gridlock while unresolved problems sweep over us. The second is humility. Our message to the world must be communicated powerfully but with a sense of dignity and acknowledgement that the rest of the planet also has aspirations. We have had a decade of a ham-handed national leadership, without perspective on the international community and favoring the blunt instrument of militarism as a primary foreign policy tool. As a result, we face an angrier world and our influence has declined. To move forward, the ineffable qualities of leadership must be combined with understanding that leadership is not a “Whack a Mole” reaction to events, but a decisive play in a dangerous chess game consistently requiring right decisions.It’s a truism that the ordinary citizen rarely gets the government they want – be it democracy or dictatorship. But in a democracy, at least they always get the government they deserve. The difference in quality is in the choice. This time around we must look beyond the ordinary and chose wisely. We deserve better.