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Kathy Kretman

Kathy Kretman

Kathy Postel Kretman is the Director of Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership, where she leads the University’s nationally-recognized Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program.

Not a Predictor of Leadership Skill

Americans might be more judgmental about marital affairs by public leaders than, say, the French, but I don't think infidelity alone is the turn-off. In the case of Governor Sanford, it's his outrageous hypocrisy, espousing family values and publicly criticizing others for their "immoral" behavior. Who knew what marital arrangement Bill and Hillary Clinton had during his presidency? It's none of our business. But, when caught having an affair with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern, he lied again and again to his staff and to the nation. In both situations, these elected officials, violated more than their marital vows, they abused the public trust.

That being said, history suggests that some of the greatest leaders of all times had complicated love lives. And some not-so-great leaders had model marriages. Marital fidelity, in and of itself, is not a predictor of how well one will exercise leadership.
Nor should it be the litmus test to qualify or disqualify people for leadership positions.

By Kathy Kretman

 |  June 30, 2009; 10:35 AM ET
Category:  Ethics Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Sanford's Character Flaws | Next: The Adulation of Thousands


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Perhaps marital infidelity are not predictors but not showing up for work sure is.

Posted by: arancia12 | July 1, 2009 8:28 PM
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I agree that Americans are hypocritical when it comes to sex. We have an almost puritan expectation of our leaders and they, being human, almost always disappoint us. But as this relates to leadership, such acts demonstrate such moral weakness and self indulgence that I believe it's fair to call into question their leadership capabilities because these acts demonstrate extremely poor judgement and an arrogance that compromises their claim to leadership.

Posted by: wrldtrvlr | July 1, 2009 5:16 AM
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Nor should it be the litmus test to qualify or disqualify people for leadership positions.

--well, depends on what yr leading, a combat platoon ? no prob. Leader in a society that values honesty ? How can you exercise leadership if you lie cheat and steal ??
Yr defining "leadership" way too loosely

Posted by: snapplecat07 | June 30, 2009 11:56 PM
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If only he did not impeach clinton - the hypocrisy meter would not peg on imbecile.

Plus...Hi my sweet little ole gullible business partner - I'm watching the store ok? - Oops the trail is calling? maybe i'll just leave the door open and not tell anybody? I know my partner won't mind? get it?

You hire him ok?

Posted by: ryan_heart | June 30, 2009 9:49 PM
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