Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bob Schieffer on How We Pick a President

I heard an interview with CBS newsman Bob Schieffer today on NPR. Commenting on the presidential primary campaign, he said, "The run for president is unlike anything else we vote for. We vote for president according to who we feel most comfortable with in a time of crisis." That got me wondering what characteristics we value in the other leaders around us. There are at least five characteristics I see people gravitate toward in picking leaders:

  • Vision - People want their leaders to have good ideas for the future
  • Management Skills - Sometimes they want strong administrative and planning skills
  • Experience - Often they look for leaders who have dealt with comparable situations
  • Crisis Management Skills - They want someone who can save them when the worst happens
  • Charisma - Which was a key aspect of what I understood from Bob Schieffer's use of the word "comfort"

I think there is large value in having leaders with charisma, but I hope that we don't apply a likability test as the prime driver in how we choose our leaders. It's also good to have a leader who can deal with a crisis when it comes up, but I want leaders who can help us avoid a crisis. I want a leader who I feel comfortable with in a crisis but I'd prefer one who brings other skills to the role as well.

3 comments:

Berry said...

Is there too much leaving leadership to chance? Some leaders are born but others are made.An average leader with a bit of help might well become a great leader but it is so often left to chance. What a shame!

Ken Flowers said...

It is a shame. Can you share some ideas about how to improve the chances of making more great leaders?

Larry Poyner said...

Well summarized. A good read on Leadership is "Where have all the Leaders Gone" by Iococca.