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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

Yash Gupta
Business School Dean

Yash Gupta

Yash Gupta is Professor and Dean of The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Dems need new blood

Question: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week confronted a dilemma faced by many leaders: whether to step aside when things go wrong. What should be the criteria guiding such a decision? Did Pelosi make the right choice? Should she have offered to resign but let her caucus make the decision? What about Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid?

The best leaders know when it's time to quit. They are not focused on themselves; their chief concerns are the organizations and the people they work for. They have the sensitivity, the humility and the self-awareness to know that there are times when an organization needs to renew itself. They acknowledge and appreciate the fact that their departures create opportunities for organizations to renew, for other people to offer fresh ideas and energy.

This clearly is a need within the current Democratic Party leadership. Otherwise, the party wouldn't have gotten the thrashing it received at the polls last week. The losses in the House were especially bad for the party of the speaker--about 60 seats.

If the Democrats' congressional leadership is unchanged after the party has taken such a hit, it might well create the additional problem of discouraging frank and open conversation about the necessary changes that the Democrats must consider. They just can't stick to the same old recipe.

After a major setback, how does an organization heal itself? How does it find new direction? It isn't by sticking with the status quo. New leaders with new ideas would stand a better chance of moving the party forward, more so than the people who were in charge when last week's election results came in.

By Yash Gupta

 |  November 9, 2010; 2:58 PM ET
Category:  Congressional leadership , Failures , Government leadership , Leadership personalities , Leadership weaknesses , Making mistakes , Political leadership , Politics , Succession Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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WRONG! The media attacked Congress as a whole day in and and day out. That was unfair because most lay people associate Congress with the House of Reps rather than the Senate. The media should be specific to educate the casual view. It was the Senate were everthing went to hell and got ugly. Pelosi did a phenomenal job in the House and passed virtually everything the Dem base wanted. So don't trash Congress and then call the House representatives Congressmen while calling the Senate representatives Senators. It's confusing and misleading to the average voter. Plus Fox brainwashed people to hate Pelosi but people didn't even know why they hated her, just that they were suppose to hate her. Fox is a powerful propaganda tool. I know, I spoke to a lot of uninformed voters via phone banks to CA, WI and KY and they repeated patently false information straight from the Fox so called "news" channel. Voters were saying crazy things and if they watched any other channel they would realize how wrong and crazy the commentators are on Fox.

Posted by: amylj | November 12, 2010 12:46 PM
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Yash, I very much agree. We are going to lose the Senate in 2012 and perhaps the Presidency because of 70 year old egos and we can't see it. We need to stop playing footsy with Wall Street and go back to our roots of main street and maple street.

Posted by: mjcc1987 | November 11, 2010 4:41 PM
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The Democratic House is being lead by a group which first went to Washington in the 1970's. Why should they change now? Let the old bulls drag the party to the grave with them.

Posted by: bruce18 | November 10, 2010 4:50 PM
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