Are Leaders Still Learning to Lead by Example?
The debate over stimulus package elements, timing, and consequences is deafening. Embarrassing, too, as I listen to people who should know what they are talking about flounder in near-hysteria. The emotion of the times appears to overwhelm the logic. That’s worrisome.
As I watch and listen, I wonder: Are we learning anything? Does history offer lessons? What about global current events? Do we listen to what people say or are we caught in the “who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say” trap? If that’s the case, how ironic.
We get to know who people are over time. We listen for values and expertise and watch for consistency and judgment. Where people change their minds frequently, speak without consideration, and clamor for personal attention, we tend to dismiss them. Lightweights. Idiots. Egoists.
Where people develop a platform of ideas based on accumulated knowledge and consistent values to which they remain true, we tend to give them more serious consideration. We may disagree with these people, but we generally consider them worthy of a thoughtful debate.
Debate is a give-and-take process, a laying out of position and counter-position with data and evidence that seeks to persuade opponents. Persuade, not coerce.
Today’s howling tirades are unconvincing and deeply disappointing. I understand urgency. Like many of my fellow citizens, I feel the acute pain of current circumstances. I expect knowledgeable adults to provide structure, logic and reasoned responses to our most pressing concerns. I expect them to have learned from their experience. I expect them to share their learning and perhaps a bit of wisdom to help us decide our path going forward.
At one point, I expected acknowledged leaders to lead by example. I have learned that’s no longer a reasonable expectation.