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Slade Gorton
Political leader

Slade Gorton

A former U.S. Senator and Washington State Attorney General, Slade Gorton served on the 9/11 Commission.

When political realities trump good advice

Q: Bob Woodward's new book on the Obama White House portrays a president so frustrated with top military advisers for their refusal to provide what he considered a reasonable exit strategy from Afghanistan that he devised one himself. How should leaders reconcile the laudable instinct to rely on the advice of experts with the sometimes urgent need to force them to think outside the box?

The president should always have the courage to overrule his advisers when he believes them wrong; Lincoln is the great example.

In this case, however, the president overruled his generals not because he disagreed with their military advice but because of political reality as he saw it, both in his own mind and in the views of his political base. It may possibly turn out that he was right, but in the more likely event that he was not, both the country and the cause will suffer.

By Slade Gorton

 |  September 27, 2010; 3:07 PM ET
Category:  Followership , Government leadership , Leadership weaknesses , Military Leadership , Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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