When Trust is Broken…Lesson from the Anthony Weiner Debacle

‘ I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” Frederich Nietzsche

“The glue that holds all relationships together – including the relationship between; the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on TELLING THE TRUTH AND INTEGRITY. MWH

The only person who now can correct this situation is Representative Weiner. He needs to make a difficult choice about whether to stay or resign his position in Congress. Based on the information revealed so far and the standards of Congress he now needs to do the right thing—resign. Let’s get beyond this distraction and start solving the rel problems ofAmerica—the need for quality jobs and a thriving economy. What do you think?As the American public contemplates another man acting badly (Congressman Weiner’s lewd behavior and cover-up) I reflected that at the core of this issue is broken trust. When we look at Weiner’s and many other men’s inappropriate and embarrassing personal behavior we see a lack of impulse control and in general an inability to monitor their testosterone urges. They have difficulty anticipating or measuring consequences for their action or think they are to powerful to be held accountable for their actions. Remember that trust is the glue that holds and keeps relationships together. Without trust you lose credibility and without credibility it is difficult to do your job for the people you are representing. Connecting with others becomes difficult, and collaboration to solve problems next to impossible. To be trustworthy means to be dependable or that you can be counted on to do what you said you will do (DWYSYWD).

Cure for America’s Lack of Vision and Direction– New Leaders Needed…

“We must be silent before we can listen. We must listen before we can learn. We must learn before we can prepare. We must prepare before we can serve. We must serve before we can lead.” ~ by William Arthur Ward 

Starting and building a better America is all about leadership – a “flash of brilliance”, honing the idea, building an involved team and followers and developing strategic plans based on vision and experience. What have I missed on –Oh Yeah, creating an environment for growth and clearing a path over and through all negative objectors and real obstacles. Yet the image of leadership in government and business is at an all-time low, according to national leadership experts, considering the political debacles, record business bankruptcies, and executive fraud cases. For example read what James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner in their book on Leadership view credibility as the foundation of future leaders. They say “Leaders we admire do not place themselves at the center; they place others there. They do not seek the attention of people; they give it to others. They do not focus on satisfying their own aims and desires; they look for ways to respond to the needs and interests of their constituents. They are not self-centered; they concentrate on the constituent. . . Leaders serve a purpose and the people who have made it possible for them to lead . . . . In serving a purpose, leaders strengthen credibility by demonstrating that they are not in it for themselves; instead, they have the interests of the institution, department, or team and its constituents at heart. Being a servant may not be what many leaders had in mind when they choose to take responsibility for the vision and direction of their organization or team, but serving others is the most glorious and rewarding of all leadership tasks.” ~ by James Kouzes and Barry Posner in Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It.

If the country is to recover financially, politically, and emotionally new transformational leaders will have to emerge. It will take new leaders who understand that leadership is a about flexibility, serving people through participatory processes,  not power and commands. These leaders will identify the problems people want solved not made-up issues such as deficit spending during a time of joblessness and poor consumer confidence. These new leaders will be citzen-centered rather than self-centered, having the mental mindset of collaboration and flexibility, authenticity, innovation and focus on problem solving and results. They will have the required passion, perseverance, assertiveness and ethical character to do what is right to achieve shared goals.  For example, having everyone including the very rick 2% of Americans and big Corporations  pay their fair share to get America back on track. What these new leaders will focus on is developing relationships across party lines so as to find common ground in making America strong again.

Let’s examine the lack of leadership in our government. This Citzen-Ccentered leadership style will be  different from many media reports that  see leadership as position power and character driven. Leaders  before being elected will have to show proven track records for producing results through democratic processes and engagement with people. Here are some of the keys for succeeding as a leader in the 21st Century::

  • Communication skills of Active Listening and Empathy are the most important skills for a future leader. We need to pay attention to the words and actions of others while suspending judgment long enough to allow your thinking to catch up with your emotional instincts. Why? Because as leaders, if we speak too soon, we shut off communication and stifle innovation and problem solving.  When shut of communication we create divisiveness and encourage decreased involvement and participation. We create an environment of win-loss thinking and dictatorial mandates that do not gain the support of followers. Thus, creating a more tribal  and patrician approach to governance than pluralist involved electorate.
  • Leadership is a learned behavior, not a character trait. Good judgment, for example, is certainly a hallmark of exceptional leadership, but it isn’t something you are born with. “More than anything, good judgment comes from listening and learning how to cooperate and gain public or employee support for their vision and initiatives.
  • Communicating and storytelling. This is not a skill everyone is born with, but it’s a skill we can all develop. People on your team want to believe! They want to believe you know where we are going, that you keep your promises or you will get us there even if you are not  sure of the exact path at this moment. They want stories that inspire them and encourage their involvement in creating their own constructive solutions to problems.
  • MMFI Rule and Recognition for contribution for team success. This is necessary to sustain motivation during the hard times. It’s not hard to do and doesn’t require a lot of effort or expensive gifts. A thank-you note or peer recognition is enough most of the time.
  • Negotiation is a practical skill for every leader. Negotiation is often misunderstood to be the domain of clever deal makers. It’s actually really simple. Make very clear requests for a promise. Understand exactly what the promise is – what is being done, when, and what the standard of excellence is, and then check up on the status to make it happen.
  • Leadership for Others rather than focus on personal achievement and ambition. We need leaders who use power as a tool for inspiring others to create a better future for all not the select few , not as a tool for retaining their position or perks.
  • Assertiveness–Firm and decisive decisions that take courage and spine to make.  

These are the process and  leadership skills essential for 21 Century Leadership, inspiring excellence, and meeting followers needs. They are easily practiced, and serve as the foundation for successfully attracting funding, talent, making tough decisions and persevering in reach the vision that inspired us all in the beginning.

In this fashion the transformational leadership deficit is really an “opportunity” for selfless people to get involved and put us back on the path of freedom, caring and economic security.  So practice the leadership skills needed, and step in when you are ready. Now is your golden opportunity – let’s see how many of you are up to the challenge. We need you all.

Evaluating President Obama on Principle-Centered Leadership. What’s your score for him?

“In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions.” Margaret  J. Wheatley Leadership and the New Science

In the real world, the people who get Leadership right, again and again, are the ones that demonstrate in their actions the traits of Principle-Centered Leadership. Using these principles to guide their everyday interactions and decisions will make them a true leader of and for people, and it’s available to anyone who makes these principles “top of the mind” priority.

These principles are a powerful framework for assessing the effectiveness of leaders. It gives us insight into strengths and areas for improvement when evaluating a leader and their ability to set a compelling vision and mission for any organization and team they might be working with. More important, it sets up the opportunity for us to take stock of leaders, such as their use of values, control, selfishness and command. In concrete ways it shows if leaders are congruent in their espoused values and their actions.

Some leaders are followed out of fear or their ability to control others. But what about cresting followers by using these proven traits that make a leader someone people admire and believe in? Top 8 Characteristics of Principle-Centered Leaders (Ch 1, Principle-Centered Leadership by Stephen Covey) On a 1 being low on the trait up to 10 always demonstrating this trait how does President Obama stack up as Principle-Centered Leader. So your challenge is to check your perceptions of how President would lead when he was running for the presidency vs. your actual experience with hin as President. Is their a gap between what he said and is noe doing or his he congruent with his promises as a candidate? As we approach his two + years in office. What is President Obama’s score as a Principled-Center Leader?

1. He is a masters of live–long learning.
2. He is always looking to understand and be of service to others. (Empathy)
3. He models positive energy and calm under adversity
4. He believes in other people
5. He leads a balanced live.
6. He sees life as an adventure.
7. He is synergistic in his approach to problem solving (Thinking Win-Win)
8. He practices self-self-renewal and personal change.


Please rep[ort your scores so we can give the President our scorecard. Thanks.


Negotiation by White House Team failed! Why? Incompetence.

“The country needs & demands bold, persistent experimentation…take a method & try it: If it fails, try another.” FDR

President stepping on it. The bear trap was set and the president and his so-called negotiating team walked right into it and are now stuck. What went wrong? Let me lay out a few errors in the White House deal with Republicans:

1. President Obama talked about changing or letting the tax breaks for the wealthy expire during the campaign. He even said the “tax cuts for the wealthy offended his conscience”. (Indiana Speech on the campaign trail 2008) . Then when elected and having the political capital to do something about these taxes the White House and Congress did nothing but “kick the can” down the road. Then at the 11th hour Obama refuses to take a strong stand and hands off the negotiations to, Tim Gittner  and his Budget Director, two incompetent weak links, who caved-in to the “Party of No”.

2. White house had no negotiating strategy but to get something done. They are incompetent or disinterested in representing the people who elected him.

3. Sent VP Biden down to the Congress to tell the Democrats who had just come through a tough beating in the election. Biden’s message on the Tax Cut deal–” take it or leave it”. This is arrogant and unacceptable way to treat dully elected officials. A serious miscalculation and unacceptable and incompetent way to govern in a Democracy.

2. Republicans are now circulating a strategic memo to start calling the new tax cuts if passed the Obama tax cuts. Then when they come into power they can start screaming about the deficit and failed Obama policies.

3. Didn’t realize you can’t negotiate with a dishonest broker, someone who has a hidden agenda. or is operating to destroy you.

4. Democratic negotiating team had no vision or clear-cut goals going into the negotiation

5. President Obama is obsessed with bipartisanship at any cost. 700-900 Billion to the top 2% wealthiest people in the US.

What is next–a revolt of the true democrats and smart policy makers to not let this happen on their watch. For example, Nancy Pelosi will not let a vote happen on this horrible tax plan.

Where do you stand on this Tax Plan?


Challenge for Obama’s Presidency: What went wrong and where to go from here?

Obama caves-in and gives the Party of No another astounding victory against the majority of Americans declared opposition to wealthy tax cuts, those of us who expected an assertive and pro-active President are puzzled by his inept style of negotiating with himself before confronting the Republicans failed policies of more tax cuts, greed and accumulation of more money for the wealthy.  Obama announced yesterday to continue to play “kick the can” with the Republicans at the expense of the middle class.  It seems to me this White House does not care to or want to fight for the 84% of the Democrats who said no more tax cuts for the wealthy and no more deficit spending. This was a moment of truth for this President in the war for the soul of our Representative  Republic. He failed by looking weak and incompetent.  We must try to save him from his own tragic and ill-advised strategy of “rope a dope.”  Maybe he just wants to be known as a nice guy. But really how many punches can you take before fighting back?

Continue reading “Challenge for Obama’s Presidency: What went wrong and where to go from here?”

After the Mid-Terms: Obama’s Leadership Imperatives

"America was not built on fear. America was built  on courage, 
on imagination and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." Harry Truman 1947

As President Obama offers another olive branch and marshmallows one wonders if he understands the war for the soul of our Representative Republic he is in the mist of.  Maybe he just wants to be known as a nice guy. His new strategy is the one  he has been taking for two years-"Let's all just get along". I guarantee you this will not work when the Republicans are spouting off about the goals for their governing strategy--defeat Obama and take this country back to the future with more tax cuts for the wealthy and dismantling the New Deal cornerstones Social Security and Medicare. Maybe taking a page out of Harry Truman's  approach would suggest another and more assertive way to handle the party of "No"--Let's get the job done. Continue reading "After the Mid-Terms: Obama’s Leadership Imperatives"

Blanche Lincoln needs to go–“Tell her don’t ask”

Newsflash–Blanche Lincoln just committed career suicide. It’s not enough that she was against the Public Option and a progressive voice for HC reform. She now is against eliminating “Don’t Ask Don’t tell” for gays in the military.  This was her second big opportunity to show she supports change and represents the voters of Arkansas –she failed.

Lincoln was a critic of the public option, backed the Baucus bill in the Finance Committee, and lobbied not even to put the “Public Option” on the table for discussion. So after this wrong headed position what does she do but vote against even discussing the “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” amendment.   She is not a leader who is championing change or even compromise. She has taken up the banner of fear and  no change of the republican party. Maybe she needs some time off to figure out who she was sent to represent and how to get things done that will improve the quality of life for her constituents and the American people. Maybe we all need to become more effective advocates for change. Let her know you thoughts and ideas for change by calling or e-mailing her office today:

1-202-224-4843 or e-mail her http://lincoln.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm