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Kathryn Kolbert

Kathryn Kolbert

Kathryn Kolbert, a public-interest attorney and journalist, is the Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, an interdisciplinary center devoted to the theory and practice of women's leadership.

Short-term vs long-term success

Q: New Jersey's new Republican governor, Chris Christie, has forced cutbacks in pay for teachers and superintendents, capped local property taxes, cut pension benefits for state workers, canceled popular public works projects and closed a $11 billion state budget deficit. Yet in spite of these highly controversial initiatives and a blunt speaking style, his popularity in a heavily Democratic state is rising. What is the lesson here for other political leaders?

In times of economic uncertainty, and angst about the future, leaders who are clear about their priorities and principles and propose solutions (despite the wrongheadedness of many of them) are very appealing. Gov. Christie's blunt style is a relief to voters who crave certainty. Indeed he has become the consummate outsider since so many of his fellow politicians faced with difficult choices tend to obfuscate their positions or refuse to take firm stands. In the long term, Christie's haste and certainty may come to haunt New Jersey; but since most politicians are primarily concerned with the next election, long-term consequences are rarely a factor. And that's a shame.

By Kathryn Kolbert

 |  October 15, 2010; 2:13 PM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Crisis leadership , Government leadership , Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Why do women hate negotiating? | Next: Is Don Draper a leader? Maybe. A good leader? No.

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Christie's blunt style is only appreciated by the die-hards who hold on to extremist ideology. Christie looks like a bully and abuser after picking fights with teachers, unions, women, and medical marijuana patients. Most of rational New Jersey did not wake up to the reality of this man until after it was too late. There's an important lesson there.

Posted by: revbookburn | October 15, 2010 9:57 PM
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