I’m not much into politics.
For the most part, I think what passes for political discussion here in America isn’t much more than a bloodsport. It’s “We rule…you guys suck.” You see a lot of that online, especially on comment boards. But you also see it in the candidates and their parties. They’re appealing to their base. That’s where the votes are, and more importantly, that’s where the money is.
So when you see a candidate that’s not in bed with either party, it’s usually interesting and refreshing. Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City is a good example. He came down on different sides of different issues, depending on what he (seemed to) believe, not what his party platform was.
Donald Trump, whatever you think of him, also speaks his mind. To the left on some things, to the right on others.
It’s probably not a coincidence that each of the two men I mentioned are billionaires. They capitalize on trends and lead large groups of diverse people toward a common goal.
It reminded me of the 1992 Presidential campaign of H. Ross Perot. I don’t remember much about the specifics of the campaign. But I do remember one of the debates with President Bush, Bill Clinton and Perot.
During the debate, Ross Perot was talking about the economy. In a past conversation, one of his opponents said he didn’t care if we manufactured computer chips or potato chips.
Obviously, that’s a really bad statement. Computer chips bring more revenue. And they bring in a skilled workforce, vs. the relatively unskilled labor that comes from making potato chips.
Perot said he knew his opponent regretted saying it. Then he went on to state the obvious, which is that high tech jobs are better for an economy than low tech.
A seasoned politician would have attacked his opponent mercilessly. Ross Perot did not.
In that case, he responded like a statesman, which is interesting because we don’t know if that’s what his opponent (I think it was President Bush) meant. For all we know, that was Bush’s true feelings.
Looking at the rest of the campaign, it was obvious Perot wasn’t ready for the national stage. He went on to make a bunch of contradictory statements and often had his campaign team on the verge of quitting. The Reform Party didn’t do much after the two campaigns (he also ran in 1996), other than get Jesse “The Body” Ventura elected as governor of Minnesota.
He might not have been the right man for the job, but he was a heck of a leader.
He was more interested in problem-solving than tearing down his appointment. And it cost him.
Bad leaders advanced their own agenda over the good of the organization. Good leaders build consensus, elevate everyone, and include everyone. Ross Perot was probably a bad politician.
But at least on that night, in that debate, he was a good leader.
Do you know leaders who sacrifice their own short term gain for the long term good of their organization?
What makes a good leader?
Have you been a good leader, even if you didn’t the outcome you wanted…or the credit?
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