Would you agree that the President we need and want should be the best leader vs. the least lousy? If so, do you agree that the best candidate is one who engenders the following from Americans:
- Trust = we trust him or her to do what they say they’ll do, to not unnecessarily hurt or unfairly take advantage of others
- Confidence = we feel confidence in them because they have a track record of making good judgment calls and decisions, getting things done and that they can and will get things done when in office
- Respect = we respect them for their integrity and standing for and standing up for a noble mission that serves America and for standing up against greedy, devious, selfish or self-serving people that attempt to detract, distract or derail the organization from fulfilling that mission
- Admiration = we admire them for how they stand for, stand up for and stand up against anything or anyone that would detract from, distract from or derail that mission (they are unflappable, present, quietly formidable and demonstrate poise under pressure)
- Likability = we like them for being enjoyable and enjoying of others, for having a sense of humor and not taking themselves too seriously
- Inspiration = we are inspired by them because of having all of the prior attributes and because they both motivate and pump us up and inspire and lift us up
If you disagree with the above, how much would you want to follow a President who triggers distrust instead of trust, doubt instead of confidence, disappointment instead of respect, embarrassment instead of admiration and discouragement instead of inspiration.
Furthermore, would you agree that America is in the political doldrums because none of the leading candidates possess all of these. For example:
- Trump – scores on Confidence mainly because of our having little confidence in Washington and he scores on Likability not because he’s likable, but because he’s entertaining compared to the defensive, complaining and whining other candidates
- Cruz – scores on all if you are a highly conservative evangelical, but is questionable on all if you’re not
- Rubio – scores on all if you are a youthful ultra conservative, but is too wet behind the ears and questionable on all if you’re not
- Clinton – sadly only scores on Admiration for her tenacity and never giving up through thick and thin, but doesn’t engender any of the other feelings towards her
- Sanders – scores on everything except America having Confidence that he could get anything done. Maybe his grass roots, bottom up appeal might mobilize the young and the middle class and the old and fearful to put pressure on their representatives, but few would think that is possible.
So what we need to do and could do is crowdsource America to:
- See if they agree with these qualities and/or want to change them and add others
- Rate all the candidates on all these qualities (as I briefly did)
- Delineate what observable, consistent and over time behaviors the ideal President would demonstrate that would increase our ratings
- Delineate what observable behaviors over time the ideal President would never demonstrate that would decrease our ratings
BTW this is a process any enlightened leader can implement in his or her company or organization.
Why do that and risk discovering that you’re not the leader you think you are?
It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s also because in this day and age of disappointing CEOs, founders, and leaders, their people will feel it is an honor and privilege to work under them. That will increase loyalty and decrease poachability of your best people, unless they are so selfish, self-serving, greedy, constantly-looking-for-something-better and lacking in the CLARI-T attributes themselves that you’re better off without them.
At Heartfelt Leadership we call it CLARI-T™ Leadership because that word embodies all six qualities (and TCRALI is not very memorable) and we help leaders who want to become a CLARI-T Leader. Actually for the highly motivated CEO, founder or leader, checking in with their people periodically to candidly and anonymously tell that leader how they’re doing and how they can continue to improve is sufficient.
If you’re wondering if there is anyone who has these qualities, you need look no further than Pope Francis who I think would make one heckuva President, but Trump would disqualify him for not being born in America.
There are actually many CLARI-T leaders in America, but true to Jim Collins’ Level 5 leaders in his book, Good to Great, you’ve never heard about them because they’re humble and focused on doing right by their mission and all their stakeholders.
I have more than a little passion and commitment to finding and building the best leaders possible. That’s because my last living mentor, Warren Bennis, died on July 31, 2014 and I think of him every day. That’s not just because I loved the man, but because he was a CLARI-T leader and before he died he shared two things that haunt me.
On one occasion he shared that he had dedicated his entire career to the field of leadership and many will say he was the father of it. He then told me that he felt leaders were worse than ever and maybe he didn’t do such a good job.
On another occasion in the last nine months of his life he shared with me that he was trying to be a good sport. I asked him why. He replied, “Whenever I visit the USC Marshall School, where I have taught for decades, I am introduced to the students as this grand authority in the field of leadership. The students don’t know who I am and to them I am irrelevant. I have had the great fortune to be relevant for many more years than my contemporaries, so I’m trying to be a good sport about it. But it still hurts.”
I think Warren also meant that “leadership has become irrelevant.”
Those two incidents stay with me and bother me both because of how much Warren meant to me and also because as I look out at the world through Warren’s eyes, I’d sadly have to agree with his assessment.
It was because of Warren’s influence and inspiration that I co-founded Heartfelt Leadership with my wonderful partner, Deb Boelkes, who is also a CLARI-T leader (check out more of them at Be Inspired).
As we say on our home page, Heartfelt Leadership is about Daring to Care.
Warren, you did. I miss you… many people miss you.
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