Friday, December 13, 2013

Democracy–Lousy Training For Leadership

The tendency to whining and complaining may be taken as the surest sign symptom of little souls and inferior intellects. - Lord Jeffrey

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do. - Benjamin Franklin

As I watch the NDP collapse in my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, it occurs to me that being in any opposition party in a democracy has to provide the worst training possible for leadership wannabes.

The NDP in Newfoundland have travelled from obscurity and being a political joke in the province to being way out front in the polls.  Once they got there, their infighting and internal implosions have reduced them back to being a political joke before they could sample the power that they seemed destined to embrace and now polls have them back in last place.

Their leader, Lorraine Michael, is learning that it is easy to sit on the opposite side of a legislature or in front of the press as she fills the air with incessant complaining, gripes and rallying cries for the government to do better.

However, once the NDP moved from last place to first, a painful reality also surfaced for them:

Nobody wants to hear them complain about the party in power any more.  They want to hear the NDP’s vision for the future since they are (were) likely to be the next party in power.

If you’ve spent a lifetime complaining about everyone else and their supposedly incompetent plans, it’s unlikely that you’ve spent sufficient time crafting plans for yourself and for your vision of the future.

Unfortunately, when you have successfully managed to climb to the top in any endeavor, others will demand to see your vision of the future.  If the vision is not present or coherent, they will seek out a new leader – whether it be in politics, in business or in Life.

Ms. Michael’s “leadership” has cost the NDP a significant opportunity in the Newfoundland political arena and should serve as a lesson for any leader wannabe.

Do you possess and project a personal and professional vision that speaks to what you stand for (not just what you stand against) and why others should support you?

Are you sure?

How do you know?

In service and servanthood,


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