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Col. Michael E. Haith (Ret.)
Military leader

Col. Michael E. Haith (Ret.)

Colonel Mike Haith (U.S. Army, Retired) currently works for the Army at Ft. Monroe as a Human Dimension Integrator.

Loss of Confidence

One of the key elements of leadership is trust. Subordinates, peers and superiors must have absolute trust in the integrity of a leader to be just and fair in his decision making. When a leader's past decisions or actions compromise the integrity of their decisions, they risk losing the confidence of those they serve, work with or influence.

This issue is very important for leaders in public service. The expectation in our form of government is that public servants serve the interests of the public without regard to race, political party, or economic status, etc. Public service is not an opportunity to serve special interests or a particular group of constituents. While this view may be naïve, it is the basis of our concept of public service.

Political parties campaign based on their view that they can best represent and thus serve the public interest and the greater good not favor the special interests. It is important not to confuse the special interest with issues that may affect a minority group. Sometimes this involves decisions and actions to safeguard minority interests or provide equal protection under the law.

The civil rights movement is a good example. As many great leaders of that movement have stated, in this country, discrimination against a minority based on skin color, gender or religious belief, harms all of us. If the least of us are not full partners in the promise and rights of citizenship then all of us are unprotected. A lack of confidence in the leadership compromises our faith in the organization and its ability to serve the public interest.

While Mr. Jones likely violated no rule or law, he lost the trust and confidence of the administration that he could serve without bias, letting his personal views compromise the integrity of his decisions.

By Col. Michael E. Haith (Ret.)

 |  September 8, 2009; 12:13 PM ET
Category:  Making mistakes Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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A history of radical thought can be more easily overlooked when an official has the will of the electorate behind them. Van Jones was an appointee, not an elected official. Therein lies the difference between Van Jones and McDonnell. If Van Jones was elected president of the United States, or even a city councilman, then he would not be resigning.

Posted by: thecomedian | September 9, 2009 2:49 PM
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All administrations have their biases. Their selection of staff is usually done with knowledge of those biases that would make them easier co-workers. The revealed White House tapes and other records of past Presidents should confirm this belief. There are also skills that are respected including ability to retain and recall information and experiences. Sometimes these trump the presence of any other associated minor indiscretion which could also be seen as reasonable risk taking or forthrightness. The harsh stupidity epitomized by people like Beck is part of the current American experience. For want of a better analogy one could regard this as the steel sharpening steel phenomenon. I am not sure what happens with the sharpening of idiocy and stupidity. I am biased re the sharpening of character and intellect. The efficacy of the Becks of this country and their enablers has been decreasing over the years and will continue to until their squeals will become inaudible from the corner to which they have carried themselves.

Posted by: Draesop | September 9, 2009 10:07 AM
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The same critics who thought Van Jones should resign for his past comments should also believe that candidate McDonnell should drop from the race of VA governor for his past comments (masters thesis and 2003 comments re. gays & judiciary).

Posted by: michelle4115 | September 9, 2009 9:05 AM
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