on November 8, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on Quixotic campaign demonstrates real leadership

Quixotic campaign demonstrates real leadership

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to the idea of leadership.

Can’t imagine why.

Leadership is one of those hard-to-define characteristics that are essential to the proper functioning of organizations. And it’s hard to define because there are so many different styles of leadership. There’s the high-minded, philosophical type; there’s the micro-manager; there’s also the force-of-will brilliant types; screamers, or calm. And all of those styles work, in the right settings and with the right people.

What does a good leader look like? I can’t tell you, but I know it when I see it.

Actually, one of my favorite aspects of teaching young adults was always trying to develop the leadership capacity of the students I had. And, I’ll be honest–;my track record was mixed, at best. My own shortcomings hampered their growth. And, let’s face it, young adults have a difficult enough time leading themselves from one place to the next without worrying about leading any of their peers around. Still, there were some who just got it, and were (and are still) amazing.

One of my most basic tenets of leadership that I tried to impress on them was that “Leadership is Service.” The leader, at his or her core, is not the one who orders people around, but is the one who sees a need and does something about it. If that means cleaning up after everyone else goes home, then so be it. If that means taking on special projects, then so be it. If that means arriving early to work with individuals who are struggling, then so be it. That is what leadership is. Only after a group sees somebody doing those kinds of things are they willing to follow them.

Which, I guess, is what is so distressing about the state of politics in America right now. Political office has become a “good gig,” whose best use is to land the next good gig, whether that be on reality television or, say, running a foundation.

Which is why it was so refreshing to hear Evan McMullin explain why he’s running for president.

Yeah, that’s Evan McMullin, with two “L’s.”

Haven’t heard of him? I’m not surprised, though he has become a bit of a media darling lately. Evan McMullin is running for president as an Independent, and his entire strategy is based around winning Utah (which, according to some polls, he is doing), which will then deny either of the major party candidates enough electoral votes to win the presidency, at which point the whole election would go to the House of Representatives, where he thinks he might be able to win.

Talk about trying to draw to an inside straight.

So, I went to hear McMullin speak last week in Lakewood, just to see if there was anything more to this quixotic campaign than a protest. And, it turns out, there is. As McMullin explains it, Trump is an unacceptable candidate, so somebody needed to challenge him to represent core American values. And, after hearing too many “leaders” in Washington rationalize their unwillingness to take that on themselves, he came to two realizations:

One, somebody has to do this. And two, if nobody else will, then he would.

It’s not like he went into 2016 dreaming of spending the entire last half of the year on the road, eating rubber chicken dinners, trying to convince people that voting for him wouldn’t be a wasted vote. He did it because he saw a need, and decided to do something about it.

I wouldn’t put money on his electoral strategy panning out, but it is refreshing to hear somebody in politics talking like they understand what service is, and, by extension, what real leadership is.

And, also, in a pleasant change of pace this year, I didn’t feel like I needed to take a shower after listening to his speech.

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