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Grassroots Commentary

Leadership, and What's Missing

Mike Bunch · Aug. 5, 2013

An excellent piece in the National Journal looks at the country’s problems through the lens of the President’s failure as a leader. Here’s a quote from the article:

“In March, a reporter asked Obama why he didn’t lock congressional leaders in a room until they agreed on a budget deal. Obama’s answer was based on two assumptions. First, that his opinion is supreme. Second, he can’t break the logjam. What a remarkable combination of arrogance and impotence.”

Read the entire piece here.

I don’t pretend to know any more about leadership than anyone else around me, but here’s a brief view of some things I learned from my own experiences a long time ago:

Any decent, competent person in charge of combat troops has a very clear understanding of his role. Some of the things he is aware of:

  1. Understand the mission. Communicate that understanding to everyone involved. Make sure they know what is expected of them. When the time comes, trust them, stop telling them how to do their job, be one of them, and help them do it.

  2. Make sure they have the equipment and the training they need.

  3. Encourage the kind of interaction between them that will enhance unity and a sense of mutual trust. At the very least, don’t divide them. They have to believe in each other. Division in the ranks is deadly.

  4. Believe in your people’s ability to get the job done. If you have to make up things to try to put that across, they’ll know. Respect is a two way street. If you truly have faith in your people, sometimes all you need to do is stay out of their way.

  5. The safety of your people and the success of the mission are the the only things that should be on your mind. If you’re thinking about anything else, like your ego, or your “legacy”, or being a hero, or impressing your superiors, you are extremely dangerous and you have no business being in that role.

These are basic principles that apply to any leadership role, whether it’s combat or running a business.

Or being President of the United States.

It appears to me that the reason Obama can’t lead is because he doesn’t want to lead. What he wants to do is dominate. The essence of leadership is simply doing things that improve the lot of the people you are leading. Whether those efforts are in the area of employment, access to health care, our nation’s image on the world stage, or leading troops in combat, the principle is the same. It’s entirely possible that he can’t understand the difference between leadership and domination. I think it’s obvious to most of us since the beginning of his tenure that he has no clue about the distinction.

Every action he has taken has been directed at one thing, and it hasn’t been “what is good for the country”. It’s been about “how can I strengthen my control” of the country. Mr. Obama is a poser, and even he knows that behind the mask, nobody’s there. What he doesn’t understand is that millions of Americans also know it.

In an interview with Neil Cavuto, Mark Levin summarized the problem nicely in one sentence:

“His speeches are phony, his promises are phony, his economy is phony. The whole damn thing is phony.”

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