I have been conflicted on whether or not to opine on the presidential election this year. You know, “Who’s the ‘Real Leader’ kinda thing?” There are so many blogs and posts and articles and television and radio blowhards that I thought one more blowhard might be one too many. (You must read the previous sentence with one breath to get the full effect.)
I do have, of course, my personal preference. But, please be aware, when I look out at the political arena today I don’t see many “real” leaders. There are far more Joe’s than Sam’s as well as more Josephine’s than Samantha’s…wanna be leaders versus real leaders. To fully get this point you need to read my book, The Offsite: A Leadership Challenge Fable. Whether it is from blunders and greed in war, natural/preventable calamities or financial self-implosion, we seem to have enough bozos in government and the private sector for Barnum and Bailey/Ringling Brothers to outfit several Greatest Shows on Earth.
But, November 4 will come and go, hopefully, with nary a bozo in sight. My wish is someone wins outright without the contest going into extra innings due to some unseemly reason. We don’t want to rely on the Supreme Court once again to tell us who our new leader will be after months of legal wrangling.
It did cross my mind again the other day that there might be a better way. That’s why I decided to risk a comment on this sensitive subject.
What if we used The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership to weigh in on how we might vote? Does one candidate Model the Way better than the other? Is Obama or McCain more able to Inspire a Shared Vision? Who might Challenge the Process better? Will Americans be Enabled to Act by their leadership? Is one of these two more able to Encourage the Heart? What about their vice president selections?
Not a bad way to view things as you go into the voting booth.
My colleague, author Kevin Eikenberry, has a similar approach. He created a quick survey so you can use his Remarkable Leadership model to make your decision. You can take his survey and review the results as well. It certainly is not scientific, but it’s a fun way to help you make up your mind if you are a “fence-sitter”.
By the way, my experience in the political world tells me there are very few fence-sitters in presidential elections, especially this close to the election. The many differences between the two candidates couldn’t be clearer. Moreover, most people while still listening to the various “debates” are listening to reinforce not select.
Keep in mind; many of those you see at the “spin the news rally’s” for either candidate are what are called “true believers.” They are so hard-core devoted to a candidate that they wouldn’t change their vote even if the candidate committed armed robbery in front of them. They would probably excuse it and say it had to be done for the good of the campaign. (Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration…a little!)You also see true believers on television yapping at the reporters and running about like cheerleaders at the big game. Please resist the urge to make your decision by emulating them, using a flip of a coin or by the biased theatrics you might encounter on the cable “news” shows. Real leaders are thoughtful, action-oriented people. With the tsunami of information available on the Internet today (yes, voters beware, biased nonsense lurks online as well), there is not one reason in the world to go to the voting booth unprepared or unaware. It is not difficult to learn what the candidates really stand for and how their leadership might impact our country. Moreover, we know quite well from recent experience that each and every vote counts. So make sure you registerand you vote. You must make your voice heard. It’s the best way to silence the bozos.Robert H. Thompson is the author of The Offsite: A Leadership Challenge Fable. You may reach him and subscribe to his newsletter at www.leaderinsideout.com.