Ah, here we go again- another election cycle! I used to really enjoy politics. Political science was a favorite of mine in school. I love the unique characteristics of politics and the history that goes along with it. But I can tell you politics is not something I care for anymore. I really dislike the new face of politics. The discourse is broken. There is no civility. It makes no sense to me. Here are a few observations in this election season and the leadership lesson that goes along with it:
Angry: Voters are angry and the politicians are completely puzzled. Why are they so angry? What could possibly be wrong? Maybe years of gridlock, ideology and rampant spending? Voters want anyone but the establishment. And this is really evident on both sides.
Leaders: The problem with angry is that you can make some really bad decisions when you are angry. Leaders need to guard their tempers and stay composed. If your team is angry, you need to address it head on. Don’t put your head in the sand and let it fester!
Cool: There is a new phenomenon emerging- the cool factor! This is the breeding ground for the PC (politically correct) group. We have become obsessed with the coolness principle. What is cool anyways? Are we still in high school? I just don’t get the attraction. Grow up please!
Leaders: Cool at its roots is being self-centered. I do what is cool so I look good. Cool people make me feel better. If I get invited to hang out with the cool group then I am cool too. Be approachable- not cool!
Weird: Both sides are convinced that the other side is weird. They are freaks. Guns, global warming, faith, same sex marriage, abortion, environment- anyone that doesn’t think they way you do is just weird. They are broken.
Leaders: Everyone is different so get over it. Diversity is a strength. You will never feed innovation if everyone thinks the same.
Stupid: Both sides are convinced the other side is just stupid. If they were just smarter they would see that I am correct. They are just ignorant. I am smart and have this all figured out. Really? Do you actually think you are just superior and everyone else is not up to your intellect?
Leaders: Look at all sides of an issue. Don’t get tunnel vision. Don’t typecast others as stupid just because of your title. A line person has first hand knowledge. You can’t completely understand things until you are in it. Don’t assume you have it all figured out. Question yourself.
We have become intolerant of any viewpoint except our own. Can you see the crazy arrogance in this? We will never solve the problems in this country without an open mind and you will never be an effective leader being close minded. Consider other options. Look at the other side of the issue. You may see a better solution. And keeping an open mind will make you a better leader!