Apropos the editorial piece that appeared in your daily on Friday, December 9th, on the healthcare reform bill that is presently in the Congress, I wish to share my thoughts on the leadership issues involved since they are important both to the Democrats and the Republicans.
This involves an ability to clearly think through an issue, formulate opinion / policy, communicate it effectively and argue successfully the merits and demerits of the opinion and alternatives. In other words, a leader has to talk, listen and argue coherently to win over skeptics if any.
Since we are all individuals from different socio-economic and political backgrounds, we manifest our leadership qualities in different styles. Some of us are authoritative, some are democratic and yet others are of please-all by nature. These styles appear appropriate in different situations e.g., military commanders are in general more authoritative, HR managers are more democratic etc. Authoritative leaders impose their will on the subordinates or even colleagues by the force of their personality and the power of their hierarchical status. Persuasive leaders opt for a more democratic approach
Since the topic of healthcare reform is with the political leaders, I wish to draw a parallel with the council member of our neighborhood and the successful way he practices his leadership skills. On the one hand, this council member has to listen to the suggestions and grievances of his constituency (voters), prioritize them and do his best to get them executed through the administration. On the other hand, he has to contend with similar (and sometimes, opposing) demands from the other council members who have obligations to their own voters. There are political careers involved here and the contest is, as in the National Congress, among local leaders. Our council member is a soft spoken Republican. His priorities are dictated by public opinion and national policy. His interactions with the other council members can be seen as the flip side of his interactions with his own voters. Skillfully, he persuades the other council members to support his priorities within reasonable limits and extends similar support to them. By this way, he has ...
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