How many times have you heard someone say something like its nothing personal, just business; or, maybe, thats just politics? I think it is relatively common. It seems that more and more people in our culture are willing to sacrifice their values in order to obtain their goals. Too often, business people, civic leaders and politicians are so focused on their objectives that they are willing to do whatever it takes to make them materialize, including stretching the truth (sometimes known as lying), acting in a deceptive manner (sometimes called fraud), threatening some form of harm (sometimes called bullying or extortion) and even blackmail (I couldnt think of a cute euphemism).
The fundamental problem is a lack of character. A true leader understands that the ends do not justify the means. It is not acceptable to do something that is immoral, unethical, illegal or even just sneaky and underhanded in order to achieve even a high minded and lofty end. Often folks mistake obtaining a position of authority for acting as a true leader. However, the sad fact is that we are literally inundated with people who have authority, yet are completely incompetent as leaders. A big reason for that is the fact that they are willing to compromise their character in order to be expedient. They surrender to the Tyranny of the expedient because they cannot get the people who should be their followers to participate in their schemes. Lacking natural influence and persuasive ability, they lie, manipulate and bully people into cooperating.
Any consensus formed in the foregoing manner is shaky. Sooner or later, the schemes come to light. Thus, the leaders using these tactics are forced to constantly position themselves in such a manner as to escape the blame when the scheme falls through. True leaders have the trust and respect of their followers. Thus, the followers are invested in the vision of the leader and work to support the vision. These leaders respect the values and opinions of their constituency. They know that they cannot always please everyone, however and they recognize that at times, they may be wrong. They serve their followers with humility instead of parading their power and achievements.
We are approaching a time of elections. Indeed, we are already hearing from numerous Federal, State and Local candidates. I urge you to consider whether you see true leadership in those on the ballot. The lack of leaders in positions of authority is killing us.