I’d like to look at some headlines from a leadership perspective. I don’t intend for today’s post to be political.
Governments have needed secrecy and spying since before Sun Tzu’s The Art of War over two thousand years ago. People will also oppose governments that overreach their influence into their lives. Different people oppose different levels of intrusion so that the more a government intrudes the more people will oppose the government.
One of the main roles of a government’s highest leaders is to balance the government’s secrecy and spying with its citizens’ private interests. Government officials and decision-makers have conflicting interests because their jobs get easier with more of the former and harder with more of the latter.
If a leader doesn’t take responsibility to manage these competing interests, who knows in what direction the government will move? Too much in one direction and the country becomes susceptible to attack. Too much in the other and the people demonstrate and oppose the leader and government.
I don’t see much leadership in the current situation with the leaks exposing the United States spying. As more information leaks it keeps seeming to expose more spying than the government said and more lies from the government. For many in my geeky circles, this issue has become the greatest issue of their time. It’s certainly important for me.
Something surprising me is not that I’m reading people describing Obama on the path to becoming a tyrant. I read many people saying that about George W. Bush. I’m surprised that the people openly describing Obama as a tyrant, or on the path to becoming one, are his supporters, or former supporters, I should say. Bush’s criticisms came from his opponents, at least by what I saw.
I see opposition from former supporters as a sign of failure of leadership. I don’t see Obama opposing what’s going on, but I don’t see him supporting it either. He seems to have abdicated responsibility. I can’t help but wonder if people have more power than he does in his own branch of government. He seems unaware of his own principles.
Whatever your position on his goals, if any, I think on health care he achieved less than he wanted, though he stuck to his goals and overcame stiff opposition, so you could say he achieved a lot. On closing Guantanamo Bay, he achieved almost nothing, but I can imagine stiffer opposition and less support than on health care, so maybe you can’t fault him. On the environment he achieved almost nothing, but I don’t see much support from the population, so maybe it wasn’t a meaningful goal for him.
But on spying, something he campaigned he would decrease, and cracking down on whistle-blowers, he’s moved against what he campaigned on and what I understand of his constituents’ interest.
Forget about your position on this issue if you have one. Look at the video below from a leadership perspective. Does Obama today look like he is leading effectively, if at all?
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book