Political leadership has been missing in Washington, across the US, on the international stage, and in the capitals of most nations around the world. This lack of leadership has become increasingly evident over the past decade or so. There has also been a lack of leadership in the business world, which undermines the work environment, integrity, ingenuity, and longevity of companies everywhere. This is no more apparent than when there is a crisis or some other stressful situation. Above all, leadership is about solving problems. Leadership is about serving others in order to help them succeed in their roles. Leadership, therefore, means leaders take responsibility when problems arise by taking lead on the problem solving process.
In business and politics, there are positions of responsibility that go by many different titles. Some are official and others are unofficial, but most fall under the categories of manager, assistant manager, supervisor, and coordinator. A coordinator is simply someone who facilitates the work of others by helping them communicate or bridge departmental and interdepartmental divisions. A supervisor, or team leader, is anyone who ensures groups of individuals meet their goals. A coordinator is not, of course, necessarily a supervisor. An assistant manager is someone who manages an aspects of an operation for a business, government, or other entity, yet works under the decisions of a manager. An assistant manager can be a supervisor. A manager is someone who leads and oversees an operation, or all operations, of an entity. All positions are positions of responsibility and positions of leadership.
In today’s society, there are far too many people in leadership positions who do not actually take responsibility. When a problem arises or a solution fails, the primary concern for this kind of authority is to avoid blame and any potential consequences of a mistake, which means they are avoiding problems for their own gain. In other words, they are not leaders. They will pretend a problem does not exist, target their subordinate coworkers with blame, whether or not a specific individual is the actual problem that needs fixed, target those who call attention to problems, set others up for failure in order to shift attention onto the deficits of others, react in a panic and/or utilize any number of avoidance-related defense mechanisms. What they will not do is make an honest effort to work with others to solve problems, unless they can take credit for a solution.
Taking responsibility does not, of course, always mean taking the blame. Everyone should take responsible for what, if anything, they should have done, should not have done, or could have done, but there is often no need to focus on assigning blame. Mistakes are a reality of life. In many respects, the field of accounting is literally just a systematic approach to organizing information and identifying human error in a cyclical fashion to ensure any mistakes missed are eventually discovered then corrected. The science and engineering fields also assume people will make mistakes and incorporate systematic mechanisms to correct mistakes made. The business world, and the political world to a lesser extent, incorporate many concepts from the accounting, science, and engineering fields, but they too often fail to accept the simple fact that mistakes will happen. Instead, they either ignore problems or react to them only when they become serious enough to warrant attention then treat human workers as disposal, defective equipment.
US President Donald Trump serves as a bold example of someone who has embraced a reactionary leadership style, but he is far from the only person in a position of responsibility who practices reactionary leadership. Trump is someone who rarely, if ever, admits when he makes mistakes or does not actually know something, which means his mind is closed to learning. He is also someone who seizes any opportunity to call out others who have made mistakes or have deficits. When there is a problem, he reacts in a panic with threats and abusive language. He singles out whoever he thinks is responsible for the mistake or wrongdoing then crucifies them. What he fails to do is actually solve the underlying problem. Once people stop paying attention to the problem, he settles down. If people do not stop paying attention to the problem, he becomes erratic and engages in random rants until he no longer feels like he is being blamed. Unfortunately, President Donald Trump and his supporters continually lash out at others, yet none of their avoidance tactics solve problems.
The Trump Administration does not have to accept blame for everything people complain about, but the Administration must take responsibility for all of the issues it faces. President Trump, as well as other political and business leaders, need to approach all issues as responsibilities that need solved. Instead of reacting, political and business leaders need to embrace constructive, proactive leadership styles that allow them to tackle problems. The simple true is that anyone can be discredited and disqualified or promoted as the most indispensable, most valuable component of a business. Blame, therefore, only matters when blame is a necessary part of the problem solving process. More often than not blame is simply a means of avoiding a problem and dodging actual responsibility. It is a product of reactionary leadership, which tends to create chaos and friction, yet fails to solve problems.
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