Politics! It rules the world! But can get oh-so-very dirty. Running for office, whether it’d be in a municipal, provincial or federal election, or even on a much smaller scale such as a board level, can reveal people’s ugly side. Oh, can they can get weird when their names are on the ballot!
Power is not something everybody handles well. Some heads get inflated rather quick.
A true leader has key strengths: they are humble, they are honest, they show integrity, they are good listeners, they have passion and they delegate. They are team players and do everything for the betterment of the project at hand. They build people up, always. They give their team all the tools they need to succeed, they don’t set them up for failure.
Oppositely, bad leaders tend to have a self serving interest when doing things. They want control over every detail and have no accountability, no transparency. It’s their way or the highway, yet they always find somebody else to blame for their mishaps.
Aristotle said: “He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.” Never, in the history of leadership, was a greater truth divulged. Being a good follower helps you handle criticism. It also makes you aware that criticism should be done in private and praises, in public.
Being a good follower makes you a dependable leader. Being a good follower means you understand the importance of giving glory to the team rather than having the light shine upon yourself. It also means you are not afraid of losing control over certain things; it makes you able to let go of tasks and delegate rather than micro-manage people.
Currently, I sit on three boards of directors in various capacities. I also sit on diverse committees. I lead and I am led. I handle both well. And I see both extremes of the leading spectrum. I have good leaders and leaders who are simply incapable of following, therefore, incapable of leading.
With federal elections at our doorsteps, we need to keep this in mind when the time comes. Look at the head of each party. Where do they come from? Are they good followers? Can they analyze their actions objectively? Do they get defensive when their shortcomings are pointed out? Do they engage the offense mode when they feel cornered? Do they resort to attacks when they run out of answers to tough questions? Do they change the subject to deflect?
I was surprised to see some of the discourse coming form the headquarters of our local campaign offices recently. I couldn’t believe how quickly the focus got nasty. Rather than informing me about their platform or their values, politicians quickly point fingers to their opponents, in an effort to show me how inadequate said opponent is. It’s not about who is better for the job. It’s about who’s better at hiding their dirt under the carpet.
A true leader will tell you why you should vote for him. A bad one will tell you why not to vote for the competition.
You don’t lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership. -Dwight D. Eisenhower