Monday, October 17, 2011

Can a billionaire Democrat teach us anything about leadership?

When I hear someone talk about "leadership," I cringe because what usually follows is vague, opinionated rhetoric.  This article seemed different, in that it specifically laid out directions that President Obama could have taken to address the current economic malaise.
 [Shortly after the inauguration], he supported Mr. Obama's call for heavy spending on infrastructure. "But if you look at the make-up of the stimulus program," says Mr. Zuckerman, "roughly half of it went to state and local municipalities, which is in effect to the municipal unions which are at the core of the Democratic Party." He adds that "the Republicans understood this" [which now makes it hard to reach agreement on current legislation]. 
 Then there was health-care reform: "Eighty percent of the country wanted them to get costs under control, not to extend the coverage. They used all their political capital to extend the coverage. I always had the feeling the country looked at that bill and said, 'Well, he may be doing it because he wants to be a transformational president, but I want to get my costs down!'" 
 "...To fan that flame of populist anger I think is very divisive and very dangerous for this country." ...  The U.S. "has fundamentally great qualities," he says. "It's a society that welcomes talent, nourishes talent, admires talent . . . and rewards talent." [Note that inequality is a consequence of rewarding talent.]

[Bottom line for Mr. Zuckerman]: "I don't want my daughter telling me, 'Dad, I want to move back to Canada because that's the land of opportunity.'"  [see our earlier post on migration to Canada].
So what does this teach us about leadership?  My take is that a great leader is one who sacrifices his own interests in favor of those of the organization he leads.   

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