Dr. Terry Paulson
One of the least noticed attributes of great leaders is humility. That’s right. Leaders need to be humble enough to know that every person on their team has strengths and wisdom waiting to be tapped. They must realize that the best leaders are known by the commitment and excellence of the people they lead. With the best leaders, their people often say that they did it themselves. Sometimes people look to national leaders as models, but presidents are often not the best example of leadership.
No matter what the party, they face the daunting task of new, often dangerous domestic and international problems every day. Like leaders in the field of battle, they can’t call a timeout from battle and have a discussion about who is the first one out of the foxhole. Presidents are called to make difficult choices. They act and keep moving from decision to decision.
Certainly, leaders in any organization have times when such quick decisions are necessary. A problem emerges with a key client that requires immediate attention. Interruptions like that are their jobs calling. The best leaders face the problem, work to explore possible solutions, and then act.
But immediate decisions are not always necessary. No matter what the organization, leaders are tempted to make executive decisions even when collaborative problem solving might bring people together and deliver an even better solution. As president, both President Biden and former President Trump have had a tendency to make many unilateral decisions. While in office, President Biden has issued an average of 45 executive orders per year, the fourth-highest average among presidents who have held office since 1981. President Trump has the highest average with 55 executive orders.
Leaders must possess confidence, but true confidence does not require attacking the competency of others to be seen as strong. President Biden won’t even acknowledge the legitimacy of Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s presidential campaign or to authorize Secret Service protection even after a thwarted assassination attempt on Kennedy. His poor treatment has driven RFK, Jr. to consider running as an Independent, possibly threatening Biden’s reelection. Not to be outdone, President Trump’s continues to demean other GOP presidential candidates. In light of his overwhelming poll lead, he’s called on the republican party leaders to end further debates and make him the designated presidential candidate for 2024. Trump has said that none of the other candidates are even worthy of his VP consideration. The best leaders don’t have to demean others to inflate their own value.