Sunday, April 25, 2010

True Leadership

Three times just today, I saw candidates refer to popular opinion of their respective constituencies as their divining rod in deciding how to vote on any particular issue. While pollsters certainly profit from that approach, our elected leaders must be something more than mere chart followers. Allow me to set them straight.

A leader takes the path directed by his heart and mind - regardless of its popularity. The successful leader takes that path and convinces the rest of us of its merit. A leader need never, and should never, look to an opinion poll to determine his own beliefs or position on an issue.

While I'd like to take credit for first articulating the philosophy, the sentiment, if not the words, comes from Richard Nixon's book, In the Arena. It may or may not have worked out that well for him, but Nixon's approach to leadership certainly resonates with me.

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