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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.

Thursday 29 March 2012

What Motivates Political Staff?

People who work in politics slug through long, hard hours under incredible strain, are periodically thrown under buses or referred to as “dead wood” – plus, they’re assumed to all be Machiavellian egoists.  Is the trade-off of access (money really not so much) and influence worth it all?  Not really, no.  You can only push yourself that hard if you feel like you are part of something larger than yourself. 

We can tell ourselves it’s about the money, power, whatever.  That’s an accepted line.  What political junkies get off on, however, isn’t what they get back – it’s what they contribute to.

I could explain this to you from an economic perspective, a societal perspective, even a biological perspective.  But I don’t need to.  There’s one phrase that sums it all up neatly:

The best leaders are the ones who empower us to do just that and never waver from the same vision that inspires their team, or their constituencies - together, we are more than the sum of our parts.


  1. Move Forward. Together.

    I first met Dalton McGuinty in 1997. He was speaking to a McMaster Young Liberal audience. While I was not at that time a Liberal, I went to help them bolster their numbers.

    Boy, was I impressed.

    What impressed me most was Mr. McGuinty's view of Ontario as one big family. That we are all in this together. That we have different strengths to offer. While we might not always agree, we are all part of a community.

    "None of us is as strong as all of us," he said.

    It's a message he's put forward in almost every public statement since then.

    It's a message I believe in.

    I'm glad he's our Premier.

    1. Politics is designed to bleed the hopefulness out of people; the price of continuity is the loss of idealism. Survival of the fittest, one might say, with the fittest being those who crowd out (not empower) others. Premier McGuinty challenges that model and equally challenges the rest of us by not playing to type.

      I've seen our Premier go out of his way to hobknob with staff, just to make sure they felt included - because it's his way. He famously popped by the last official Brownell Night to thank Jim and have a beer with the team because he really believes in the concept of fellowship. That, folks, is leadership.

      "None of us is as strong as all of us."

      We need more of that.