Search This Blog

CCE in brief

My photo
Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

The Perfect Leader: Why Black/White Politics Doesn't Work

- Dr. Brian Goldman

There are political campaigns going on right now; federal by-elections, a provincial election and council campaigns.  Key to each narrative is corruption, poor decision making, flip-flopping, all the attack terminology political people tend to use against each other.

For each campaign, the flip-side to this "they are bad or weak" argument is "we are infallible."

Only we and our flawless leader can save the world - they will destroy everything you hold dear.  Are you willing to risk that happening?

Of course, it's not true.  Much as overworked and sleep-deprived doctors will make mistakes, so too do untrained political staff with lots of pressure not little experience, or politicians who need to communicate in sound-bite messaging and yet are drowning in policy files.

Constant pressure doesn't keep people sharp - it narrows their focus, meaning more things we can't afford to fall through the cracks do.

It's inevitable that the people in charge (or people for whom they are accountable) will make mistakes. 
Our systems are designed to penalize mistakes, punish those who make them, take the weeds out of the corporate/pubic sector lawn, leaving only the perfect seeds left.

It's a fallacy that pervades our downward spiral in civic functionality and economic success.

People are not perfect.  We are not automatons.  Those that tell you otherwise, well - guranteed they're trying to sell you something.

People are organs in a system - companies have differing roles that are inter-dependent in the same way corporations have departments or government has ministries.  Society on the whole works the same way - success isn't defined by removing the weak, but by strengthening the whole.

If you laugh at that notion, ask yourself: do you wear glasses?  Do you get sick?  Have you ever forgotten something for work because you were distracted by a family-related concern?  Do you deserve to be shot and cremated for these weaknesses?

We have placed confidence and polish over substance, meaning we're ending up with a lot of fresh paint masking internal rot.  It's not sustainable.

People aren't the problem - people are the reality.  When we have systems that, by design, mask "weakness" at the same time as it exacerbates them, we have a problem.  Sustainability comes when systems work in cohesion, not as silos.  

I guarantee you that whoever wins the next election will make mistakes.  That doesn't make them weak, it makes them human.

There are no perfect leaders; that's what makes them leaders.  It's not about them, as individuals; for leaders, it's about us, all of us.  That whole "move forward together" thing means leaving no one behind.  Leaders know they are neither infallible nor omniscient; that's why they lead - they recognize that the whole is stronger, more adaptable and more sustainable than the sum of its parts.

If we're committed to culling the weak, we'll end up with no one left.  Maybe that's in the best interests of the rest of the ecosystem, but it's not such a great plan for human animals.

It's time to rethink what our priorities are.  A bit of humility, empathy and patience will go a long way in achieving that.

No comments:

Post a Comment