• Bob Bloom

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE ABE LINCOLN?


Where have you gone Abraham Lincoln, A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson, Honest Abe has left and gone away. [1]

When I was young, growing up to be a politician was the highest professional endeavor a boy could undertake. To become a politician was more desirable than pursuing careers as a teacher, a fireman, a policeman, a lawyer and even an athlete. To strive to become a politician was just as good as committing oneself to becoming a doctor. If you became a politician, it meant that you had certain qualities and traits that implied that you were the real deal (even beyond the reproach of negative campaign ads.) If you were a politician, it meant that you were the kind of person that represented morality, was ethically principled and a person who was also pragmatic about business and matters concerning money, but above all was an altruistic individual who worked for the betterment of his fellow Americans. We looked at our politicians as LEADERS.

I remember a time not so long ago when the rest of the country looked to Washington, D.C. to do the right thing by its citizens. I remember a time not so long ago when the people of this country knew that regardless of the number of political parties, the politicians would put aside partisan politics and work together for the common good of its citizens. I remember a time not so long ago when the people of this country knew that when laws were made, they would apply to the entire country and to every citizen. I remember a time not so long ago when the people of this country knew they could trust their politicians to make the right decisions that would positively affect their lives, whether in the present time or in the future. I remember a time not so long ago when the people of this country knew that the United States of America would lead the way in the world, ensuring a safe and bright future of its citizens and those of other countries. I remember a time not so long ago when the rest of the country looked to Washington, D.C. as being a group of LEADERS.

Today, we look at Washington, D.C. with cynicism, skepticism and in disbelief that there is not one politician that actually cares about the American people. Today, we look at Washington, D.C. as an isolated locale where political games are played (the forwarding of one party’s agenda over the others) without regard of the American people. Today we look at Washington, D.C. as a disjointed group of individuals who operate for the “special interests” and “special money” and not the American people (“American people really don’t care” about all those “little tiny, yes, porky amendments”). Today we look at Washington, D.C. politicians as “deal-makers” who when they pass laws they are guaranteed to come with loopholes for them and their friends. Today we look at Washington, D.C. as individuals who are just as money fixated as the “Wall Street Villains” they like to demonize with their rhetoric. Today, we look at Washington, D.C. as LEADERLESS.

* * * * *

As I mentioned in my first post, we will discuss and explore great leadership principles, practices and behavior as well as identifying and examining poor leadership principles, practices and behavior. While I am not disparaging the President or Congress, I am highlighting their behavior, which I am sorry to say, provides for an excellent illustration on poor leadership. So let’s get started....

I view our government as a Company, any service company with at least two separate departments. The President is the company’s “President and Chief Executive Officer” who is responsible for overseeing the operation of an enterprising, forward-looking, cost-efficient, service oriented company that provides human services, economic counseling, legal advice and personal protection for the needs of its clients (U.S. Citizens) as they require. Congress represents the two departments we will call one Current Needs (Senate) and the other Future Needs (House of Representatives), as depicted below:

PRESIDENT

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

SENATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

(CURRENT NEEDS) (FUTURE NEEDS)

OPERATION

The company is a well established and highly successful large scale organization (we will discuss the “too big to be effective” organizations in a future post.) The company has hired a new CEO whose job is to ensure the company continues to run efficiently, effectively and in meeting the needs of its clients. The role of the CEO is to improve, where he can, the operations of the organization to benefit its clients. To do this, the President needs to ensure that both departments are working together in providing the necessary tools to the other department to accomplish their goals. The other requirements are:

  • For the Future Needs department to succeed, the Current Needs department needs to properly perform their tasks and assignments efficiently, effectively, on-time and under budget.

  • For the Current Needs department to be effective, the Future Needs department must provide the necessary materials, money, etc. to the Current Needs department so they can fulfill their assignments efficiently, effectively on-time and under budget.

Like all companies, both departments are inter-dependent and neither one can succeed without the other. This arrangement is no different from any other company large, medium or small.

So, let’s examine this company’s leadership behavior and practices and why the poor leadership from the CEO is causing this company to fail:

  • His vision is not clearly defined, nor he has not adequately communicated his vision, has often changed it, and the vision he has tried to reveal is inconsistent with the mission statement of the company.

  • He has injected his own agenda into the company which conflicts with the mission of the company.

  • He has created an environment of politics and requires “yes men/women” to agree with him and his decisions.

  • He does not truly seek advice from all his employees in operating the company. He does not encourage a “teamwork” environment.

  • He has created an atmosphere of hostility and antagonism toward select staff members, openly criticized and berated employees in front of other employees and has thus created an atmosphere of distrust, disloyalty (lack of allegiance), betrayal and disengagement.

  • He has not been accurate in his explanation of services that will be provided to his clients. As a result, the clients mistrust him, even the clients he has supposedly provided a beneficial service are skeptical of his actions and words.

  • He believes that the opinion of a select few clients can be extrapolated to assume that all clients feel the same about him.

  • He is inconsistent in how he treats his support network, allies and as such has created distrust and acrimony from this group which may not be as supportive to the needs of the company in the future.

  • He has shown that he is a not a good negotiator. He has a “win or lose” mentality. He does not negotiate to seek a satisfactory resolution for all parties involved, especially for his clients.

  • Because his vision is not clear, his strategic planning and management is lacking toward laying the necessary groundwork for the future, allowing his competitors to have an advantage.

  • He has failed to roll up his sleeves and get involved in the daily operations of the organization, to see where improvement is needed, how to properly allocate resources, streamline operations and manage costs, etc.

  • He has failed to adequately manage the budget and company’s finances and as such been forced to borrow additional funds to keep the company operating.

Now, let’s examine the poor leadership behavior of the two department heads that is causing this company to fail:

  • Both department heads have created an atmosphere of hostility and antagonism toward the other department openly criticizing the other supervisor and their employees in public thus creating an atmosphere of distrust.

  • Both department heads have failed to promote a “team” environment that encourages a sharing of ideas and solutions to meet the needs of the clients. Instead, they promote a political rivalry that prevents the collaboration of individuals between departments to provide the utmost service for their clients.

  • Both department heads like to have “yes” men/women surround them.

  • Both department heads encourage employees to seek their own agendas, self-promotion, self-dealing and operate in a manner that is inconsistent w/the company and its clients’ needs. In fact one department head has allowed cliques to form in his department dividing unity and the “team” while the other department head continues to follow a flawed vision set by the CEO.

  • Both department heads appear to not think of their clients in their decisions, but of themselves, their personal agendas and their “special friends”. This leaves the clients wondering if they are truly being served.

  • Both department heads do not clearly explain to their clients the services that will be provided to them. As a result, the clients mistrust them.

  • Both department heads have shown that they do not negotiate to seek a satisfactory resolution for all parties involved, especially for their clients.

  • Both department heads are lacking in strategic planning and management in laying the necessary groundwork for the future, allowing their competitors to have an advantage.

  • Both department heads have failed to adequately manage the budget and company’s finances forcing the company to borrow additional funds to keep the company operating.

In our next post, we will further clarify our observations and discuss the alternatives the clients may have in dealing with this company and its executives.

Thank you for stopping by.

Picture of Abraham Lincoln: http://reclarkauthor.com/author-experiences/the-premise-of-a-promise/

[1] http://www.paulsimon.com/us/song/mrs-robinson

#leadershipbehavior #leadership

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