November 30, 2021

Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders?

Jeannette Paladino of  Write, Speak, Sell sent me a great article on CNN Opinion which addresses a new book: Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders? A Better Way to Evaluate Leadership Potential.

I cannot wait to download this book and go through it.  The CNN article really hits the nail on the head when they went ahead and answered the question:  Why are we so bad at picking good leaders?

CNN Opinion:

“The short answer is, we focus on all the wrong things, like a candidate’s charm, their stellar résumé or their academic credentials. None of this has any bearing on leadership potential. And despite claims to the contrary, even a candidate’s past results have little bearing on whether the promoted individual will succeed once promoted”. It is this realization that has resulted in many organisations adopting a more collaborative way of working. Large corporate entities are displacing traditional rigid hierarchies and implementing a shared office scenario where CEO’s can working alongside managers and those further down the pecking order. This transparency is leading to more succinct and effective communication strategy whist boosting morale and ownership.

The article and the book go on to talk about the true qualities of a great leader.  We have a huge political election coming up in November, and I encourage everyone to look beyond the charm, good looks and resume to look at the strength of the candidate’s character, their ability to truly lead during this most critical time for our economy and their willingness to stand strong in the face of adversity and make a tough call, even if it means becoming unpopular.  Running for the highest office of our country is not a beauty contest…it is a tough race to put a true leader in office who can pull Congress together and get everyone moving into new territory so that we can truly thrive again as a nation.

Thank you Jeannette for sending this article and the book to me.  Looks like I am going to love this book!


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The Leadership Strengths of the 5 Remaining GOP Candidates

Oh My!  So much mud!  So many ads!  So many debates!  So many exaggerations!  What do we do when we go to the polls to elect the GOP nominee?

The majority of the time, you hear the media talk issues, voting records, skeletons in the closet and an entire host of other things.  But I just don’t hear a great deal about the leadership strengths the GOP candidates would bring to the White House.

After having observed each of the candidates, I want to give you my two cents on what leadership traits they do bring to the table.  And, as a leadership coach, I do believe that these skills should be considered when you walk into the ballot box.

GOP Candiates

From Left to Right: Governor Rick Perry, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Senator Rick Santorum, Congressman Ron Paul and Governor Mitt Romney

The Candidates Listed in Alphabetical Order by Last Name:

Newt Gingrich:  Strong presentation skills, decades of political experience, knows where the political landmines are, uses storytelling effectively to let people know where we have been and where we are going.  He is tough and makes no apologies about being straightforward.

Rick Perry:  Charisma and that swagger that we often see come from Texas.  He knows what his followers want, and he knows how to speak to what his supporters want to hear.   When he is “on”, he is infectious (in a positive way).  He does not try to be something is isn’t and is strong with using self depricating humor.

Ron Paul:  Authentic, trustworthy, steady, consistent, patient and willing to go against the grain.  Paul is on a mission, and that mission is not to win a popularity contest but to inspire people with a compelling message of liberty, freedom and justice for all. He inspires people to follow him into unconventional territory using a vision that he has been speaking about for 20 years. He does not give up!

Mitt Romney:  Strong business acumen, strong executive presence, pragmatic, turn-around experience and driven by details and facts.  Romney strikes me as a results-oriented leader who is always looking at the bottom line so that he can execute a plan to improve it.

Rick Santorum:  Principled, strong family values and a track record of political experience.  He seems to have a deep passion and a purpose, and this does mean something in the world of leadership.  He is not a pushover and knows how to take a stand when attacked.

If you are voting in any of the upcoming Republican primaries, just keep these in mind as you vote.  You are not just voting based on issues.  You are voting for a leader!

Myth Squashing Time! There’s No Need To Vote If You Can’t Seek The Truth

2012-ABC-New-Hampshire-GOP-DebateSo, here we are again…in the middle of one of the most highly contested Republican primary seasons I can remember, and I have had the right to vote now for 34 years.

Over the last few days, a few things have been taken out of context, and it’s time to give the media, the candidates and the voters a wake up call, and here it is:

1.  To the media and the candidates:  If you claim to be fair, why do you report things out of context?  Yesterday, Governor Mitt Romney delivered a speech about “firing people or companies who don’t provide great service”.  He was discussing the state of affairs with health insurance companies and that as consumers, we should have the right to “fire” an insurance company that is not providing us what we need and hire a new insurance company who can provide the services we seek” (paraphrase).  But, as always, Romney’s opponents and the media simply clipped out the section when Romney said “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me” and then started flying down the tracks with that statement in their hands claiming that during one of the worst economic eras since the great depression, Romney wants to fire people.  If that is what you are going to listen to and buy into, then don’t vote.  I am 100% for voting, unless you are a voter who does not take the time to get the full story.  Just watch this video of Romney speaking yesterday and pay close attention to how the phrase was actually used:

While he may now regret his phrasing…he is absolutely right!  If you have an employee, vendor or board member who is not doing his or her job and are hurting your business or life, then they should be asked to move on and find other work or other customers.  Every day I work with leaders in the business and non-profit sector who KNOW they have a bad apple on their team or a vendor who is slack, but they are soooooo afraid to fire anyone.  Maybe we need someone with the guts to say “Hey…you are not doing your job for the American people.  Move on!”

I am not writing this to back Mitt Romney.  I am writing it, because as a leadership coach, I cannot take things out of context and then use them, and as a leader, you cannot take things out of context or take a thin slice of a full statement and then slam a person with it.  So, I urge you to look at the full picture.

2.  To the media, candidates and the American people:  Stop calling our visionary leaders crazy, cranks and odd.  That is just again not fair.  Dr. Ron Paul has been called crazy, a crank and odd.  In 2002, he was really called crazy when he delivered this speech to congress in 2012:

So, was he crazy?  I don’t think so.  This speech is very sobering indeed.

Walt Disney was called crazy, and look at the joy and happiness his “craziness” has brought into our lives.   Steve Jobs was called “crazy” when he introduced the iPod, and our world has been forever changed because of his vision.   Dr. Paul has been trying to warn Congress and the American people since the late 1990s that we were headed for some big trouble on both foreign and domestic fronts, but everyone just said “Oh…crazy Ron…there he goes again, saying that we are going to pour money into the Gaza and Afghanastan and that we are headed for an economic meltdown.”  Paul was not crazy…he was right.  He is a smart man who closely follows and studies foreign relations and economics, and he understands that history repeats itself, moves in repeating patterns and cycles around and around the same issues:  money, religion and resources.  He has always been looking into the future, and some people just don’t have the vision to be able to really see down the road.  So, the only response is “Well…that person is crazy”…that again is just not fair, and it is not accurate.  It is hurtful.

So, I encourage you today to embrace our visionary leaders and to seek the truth…not just a sliver of truth but the full truth.  If you listen to the media and to the bits and pieces being slung around like wet mud enough, you will never get the full story.  Do your own research, get the facts straight and become fully informed before heading to the polls in November.


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