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Archive: Political leadership

What you get when you give power away

Not that we want any of the autocrats to retain state power. They should all consider packing their carry-on bags for a one-way trip to the Maldives. But if they had wanted create a reputational power...

By Michael Useem | February 22, 2011; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (8)

Tough it out

If you want to hold onto power as an autocrat, you have no choice but to 'tough it out.' In the long run, you or your descendants will be overthrown...

By Howard Gardner | February 22, 2011; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (12)

Democracy will be met

An ayatollah or a Gaddafi will hold onto power because he is ruthless enough to shoot his own people in the streets in the name of a real ideology, perverted as it may be...

By Slade Gorton | February 22, 2011; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (3)

Ready to rumble?

The "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" tradition may not be the most palatable, but it works...

By Juana Bordas | February 16, 2011; 02:44 PM ET | Comments (3)

Compromise is an ideal, not a reality

For the Republicans to compromise at this early stage of the game would be to make no real progress according to their own views of what needs to happen...

By Rice University Undergraduate Leaders | February 16, 2011; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (17)

The danger of political showmanship

The kind of positional bargaining so prevalent in Congress right now doesn't generate more options...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | February 16, 2011; 02:22 PM ET | Comments (3)

This is not the time to compromise

There is no valid parallel between the outset of the Obama Administration in 2009 and the opening positions of the Republican House this year...

By Slade Gorton | February 15, 2011; 02:22 PM ET | Comments (7)

Servant leadership in politics

From a leadership perspective, there is little long-term benefit to be gained by hard-line politics, which in essence positions the leader to cling to...

By Alaina Love | February 15, 2011; 12:44 PM ET | Comments (3)

Compromise: Strength, weakness or a way of the past?

Compromise often results in someone feeling as though they gave up too much or received too little. Leaders do not have the room for these results...

By Coro Fellows | February 15, 2011; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (1)

The difference between compromise and negotiation

Politicians might learn something from management and labor negotiators. While both sides may talk tough, seldom does rhetoric...

By John Baldoni | February 15, 2011; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (4)

Adrian Fenty to advise Rosetta Stone: Good news for education innovation?

A month after Adrian Fenty's last day in office, language-learning company Rosetta Stone announced that the former D.C. mayor would join their Arlington, Va., -based organization as an outsider adviser.

By Lillian Cunningham | February 3, 2011; 02:13 PM ET | Comments (27)

A new narrative for Egypt

President Mubarak is a symbol of Egypt's old, repressive government--one that the people want to do away with entirely. His narrative of autocratic and unquestioned rule has been found wanting by the people and...

By Rice University Undergraduate Leaders | February 2, 2011; 04:33 PM ET | Comments (4)

A national symbol of oppression

In pursuit of security and stability in the Middle East, the U.S. has traditionally turned a blind eye to autocratic rule as long as it did not...

By Robert Goodwin | February 2, 2011; 03:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Authority does not equal leadership

Ultimately, the authority to lead comes from those who choose to follow. When there is a loss of trust...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | February 1, 2011; 03:25 PM ET | Comments (6)

It's not smart to act as though you're indispensable

The longstanding culture can't be altered overnight, even if many new faces are added. The same old boss will be running the show...

By Yash Gupta | February 1, 2011; 02:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

The future for Egypt could look grim

The danger for Egypt, the Middle East and U.S. interests is that the explosive demand for human rights will result in a religious dictatorship even more repressive than...

By Michael Maccoby | February 1, 2011; 02:06 PM ET | Comments (3)

What Mubarak ignored at his peril

It's hard to see how the case of Egypt, where a giant, explosive divide exists between the wealthy elite and the newly energized masses, will...

By John R. Ryan | February 1, 2011; 10:46 AM ET | Comments (3)

Four obstacles for Mubarak

If there is a system where people have been repressed, unemployment is high and emotions have been smoldering, then the pressure builds; and when the cork is pulled out, it is very hard to put it back in...

By Deborah Ancona | February 1, 2011; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (1)

Mubarak's chance for better legacy

As Einstein said, "No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it," and such is the case with Mubarak...

By Alaina Love | February 1, 2011; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (4)

Leadership: Part action, part perception

Although President Mubarak may still hold the 'formal' authority of his role, it's informal authority that is now at stake...

By Amy Fraher | February 1, 2011; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (2)

Egypt needs a new leader

No way can a leader lousy for 30 years become someone poised for greatness in the future...

By Ken Adelman | February 1, 2011; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (4)

Strong leaders know when it's time to change

If a leader is the problem, he must step aside. This is hard for an autocrat to do because his view of self is linked to the destiny of...

By John Baldoni | February 1, 2011; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (9)

Power to the people

Perhaps Kanye West can claim to be the voice of this generation. It seems the often-maligned rapper was peering into the future when he wrote, in his most recent album, that "no one man should have all that power"--a mantra taken up, at least in spirit, by the millions of Egyptians protesting...

By Coro Fellows | February 1, 2011; 07:46 AM ET | Comments (3)

President Hu's challenge

The thawing of tensions between the U.S. and China isn't going to come overnight--and it wasn't going to be achieved this week alone...

By Robert Goodwin | January 21, 2011; 06:25 PM ET | Comments (3)

Mutual understanding

Now, with sudden prosperity, Chinese leaders fear fragmentation and a demanding peasant population that has been left behind. Chinese leaders believe their continued authority depends on...

By Michael Maccoby | January 19, 2011; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (5)

Following Chinese precedent

I am convinced that symbolic gestures of goodwill between leaders are the sociological WD-40 that greases the wheels for intense negotiations...

By D. Michael Lindsay | January 19, 2011; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (33)

Hu Jintao's classic dilemma

Challenges to his leadership come indirectly, creating situations that box him in without a direct confrontation, as in the military's test of a new weapon apparently without his prior knowledge. But two can play that game...

By Mickey Edwards | January 19, 2011; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (3)

Expanding the center of all nations

China's success will not be defined by sheer size alone or by military might. Rather, it will be characterized by the quality of the relationships China builds and...

By Alaina Love | January 18, 2011; 05:07 PM ET | Comments (4)

Looting intellectual property

Rather than protesting the value of their currency--which is, after all, a vital national interest--the United States each year should determine the value of stolen and extorted IP and...

By Slade Gorton | January 18, 2011; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (2)

China and the art of communication

Politicians, economists and the media in the United States have connected China's undervaluation of the yuan and its multi-billion dollar trade surplus with a lack of domestic American jobs...

By Coro Fellows | January 18, 2011; 03:35 AM ET | Comments (1)

What's your piece of the mess?

Hyperbolic politicians and the media and gun laws may or may not have contributed, Best as I can tell, we are already into heavy demonizing of "the other" in the aftermath of the tragedy...

By Marty Linsky | January 11, 2011; 07:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

Making the case for civility

The Tucson tragedy is at least a momentary reset in the super-heated discussion in Washington. The truth is that no one knows what the long-run impact is going to be, and everyone is scrambling to find the right note...

By Donald Kettl | January 11, 2011; 07:22 PM ET | Comments (3)

Our role in this tragedy

Our pattern seems to be a brief awakening during a crisis, at which time we are startled and sickened by the horror of what happened, but then we soon return to a semi-conscious state that serves to distance us from...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | January 11, 2011; 07:10 PM ET | Comments (3)

May this be a wake-up call

Leaders set a tone. When leaders in public life speak about their opponents in hateful, over-the-top vitriol, it makes people more fearful of those they disagree with and what they are doing to our country. When "lock and load" and "second amendment remedies" are part of the discourse, it sets a tone that...

By Paul Schmitz | January 11, 2011; 06:59 PM ET | Comments (9)

We need more Joseph Welch moments

Some of the louder voices in our society these days seem to believe that extremely bitter criticism of the government equates with the deepest patriotism. That's not necessarily the case...

By Yash Gupta | January 11, 2011; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (2)

It will take responsible leaders

Provocative radio and TV commentators won't disappear as long as they draw a large audience. But unless responsible leaders reject followers in their own parties who preach lessons of hate, unstable listeners will continue to believe that destructiveness...

By Michael Maccoby | January 11, 2011; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (1)

This is about guns, not rhetoric

Anyone who thinks that "vitriolic political rhetoric" is what killed and wounded the people in Arizona is in desperate need of a crash course in ballistics. It wasn't words; it was a Glock...

By Alan M. Webber | January 11, 2011; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (6)

Sandbox rules for politicians

Thus far, this system of communication has worked on some level because we're tuning in; we're supporting networks, radio stations and publications that broadcast this rubbish; and on some level, the American public is buying in...

By Alaina Love | January 11, 2011; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (4)

From rhetoric to reality

Today's violent rhetoric is a symptom of a larger social virus, one that has attacked and crippled the American attention span. After this weekend's unspeakable tragedy, many...

By Coro Fellows | January 11, 2011; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (1)

It's hard to be hopeful

I am still waiting for a talk show host or politician of any political persuasion to say, "I think my rhetoric has been excessive and...

By Howard Gardner | January 11, 2011; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (3)

Respect the rights of those who serve us

Judged by what passes for political discourse--with partisans on both sides hurling invectives--it would be tempting to blame extreme partisanship for the tragedy. That would...

By John Baldoni | January 11, 2011; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

The dramatic decline in civility

The time has come for all elected officials and candidates for public office to pledge to refrain from personal attacks and gross distortions of facts for partisan political...

By David Walker | January 11, 2011; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

In the blame game, no one wins

Those who want to redo 2008 to 2010 will see the decisions that contributed to the fragility of the economy and that have locked the country into two intractable wars had their origins well before this time frame...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | January 5, 2011; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (3)

House Reps: Don't throw the baby out with the bath water....

A leader does not erase the past. A leader will build off the past to forward his or her agenda. Repealing President Obama's health-care bill will not magically bring back the health-care debate of 2008...

By Coro Fellows | January 4, 2011; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (10)

It all depends on your goal

Republican leaders seem focused principally on winning the 2012 presidential and congressional elections. At first I expect them to follow the oppositional course. But as the date of those elections approaches...

By Howard Gardner | January 4, 2011; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

The mobilizer: President Obama

I don't agree with all of President Obama's policy agenda, but it is hard to argue that he has been anything but successful in advancing the very types of policies he said he would...

By Ed O'Malley | December 29, 2010; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (1)

The overcomer: Barack Obama

My reason for choosing him as leader of the year is that he, more than anyone else, has guided, pushed and often persuaded skeptical and independent legislators to...

By Michael Maccoby | December 22, 2010; 04:02 PM ET | Comments (12)

The issue confronter: Bill Clinton

I don't always agree with his politics or his approach, but I think he has shown a willingness to take on the tough...

By Robert Goodwin | December 22, 2010; 03:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

The debt tackler: David Cameron

More than any other world leader, he has not only acknowledged the tremendous challenge and necessity of dealing with a huge public debt but also has proposed specific...

By George Daly | December 22, 2010; 03:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

The legislator: Nancy Pelosi

Despite millions spent to scapegoat her in the last election and the Republican's obvious glee at knocking her out of the Speaker's throne, Pelosi is leaving this position with dignity. More importantly...

By Kathryn Kolbert | December 22, 2010; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (19)

The agenda setters: Tea Partiers

They represented the largest genuine mass movement in generations to enter the political arena with a clear goal...

By Slade Gorton | December 20, 2010; 04:05 PM ET | Comments (10)

The mitigators: David Cameron and Nick Clegg

Protesters might terrify formal-attired Camilla and Charles. But even that turned out fine. With budgets being slashed, there's no way to avoid such resistance--whether from students with scant tuition or from beneficiaries with lavish government handouts. But the harmony, decency and rationality of the Cameron-Clegg team...

By Ken Adelman | December 20, 2010; 04:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Losing sight of Lincoln: A mid-course resurrection to save Obama's presidency

Remember, back in 2008, when everyone compared Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln? After he was elected president, Obama himself talked about what he was learning from the 16th president. Fast forward to today: no one is talking about those parallels. Only the most foolish among us would put Obama anywhere near the rarefied stratosphere reserved for our most revered leader.

By Nancy Koehn | December 8, 2010; 01:04 PM ET | Comments (19)

Betrayal is a potent weapon

The hardest part of all of this is that the people who supported Obama because he promised to fight for the little guy are feeling betrayed. And betrayal is a potent weapon in party politics that Republicans will cash in on...

By Kathryn Kolbert | December 8, 2010; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (5)

Obama's 'Sophie's choice'

The public should not accept such blatant manipulation or tolerate being held hostage by power plays and positional bargaining. This legislation is neither bipartisan nor optimum. Neither party achieved...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 8, 2010; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (2)

Playing from weakness

Obama's strength has been in the results he has won; his weakness has been in a failure to communicate his reasoning for accepting less than he has wanted...

By Michael Maccoby | December 7, 2010; 04:39 PM ET | Comments (4)

The tax cuts show progress

This is the essence of compromise, and gives us at least some hope of a constructive next year or so, perhaps even including...

By Slade Gorton | December 7, 2010; 11:56 AM ET | Comments (2)

Obama's authority is suffering

The president looks bad for making sacrifices and gestures, as with the federal wage freeze, and getting nothing in return from the Republicans. All he got was the back of their hand. Who knows. Maybe this will be the slap that...

By Yash Gupta | December 7, 2010; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (7)

Not the right deal to cut

While some compromise is necessary and should be encouraged, this "deal" does not seem reasonable from a fiscal responsibility and social equity perspective. It seems that President Obama is operating from a position of weakness and the Republicans from...

By David Walker | December 7, 2010; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (10)

Obama needs to take a stand

Obama looks like an individual without strong values for which he is willing to go to the mat--except for the value of mediation and compromise, which does not work when you occupy a role that requires decisions and the appearance of decisiveness...

By Howard Gardner | December 7, 2010; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (4)

On tax cuts, pragmatism vs. principle

The Democrats had an opportunity to tell a story about the tremendous pain that withholding the unemployment extensions could cause to millions, pain which the Republicans were willing to inflict it in order to preserve tax cuts for the wealthy. Yet the debate...

By Coro Fellows | December 7, 2010; 08:22 AM ET | Comments (14)

Compromise is king

Standing up for what you believe to be the right decision is the very definition of leadership. But standing tall for every idea you have is delusional...

By John Baldoni | December 6, 2010; 05:10 PM ET | Comments (2)

Grow up, Washington

We've become a nation of immediate gratification, which has contributed to the current economic debacle, coupled with leadership in Washington that refuses to make the very bold decisions that can right our economy again...

By Alaina Love | December 6, 2010; 04:30 PM ET | Comments (3)

Gridlock has its rewards

It's tragic what Obama has to endure from Republicans, or they from him, or all of us from all of them. So what's new? Our political system was designed thus...

By Ken Adelman | December 6, 2010; 04:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Another kick-the-can solution

If we ever plan to avoid excessive debt, either Republicans will have to demonstrate the courage to raise taxes or Democrats will have to demonstrate the courage to cut spending...

By Marshall Goldsmith | December 6, 2010; 03:04 PM ET | Comments (2)

Sacrifice a little now or a lot later

Both parties want to reward their wealthy contributors, who make up the "elite" and possess no real understanding of how successful nations sustain their greatness--which is by maintaining a meritocracy, where anyone with hard work and smarts can...

By Don Vandergriff | December 6, 2010; 02:59 PM ET | Comments (8)

Obama allowed himself to be politically boxed in

While the left railed against tax breaks for "billionaires," that is not what was on the table. In the end, the president had to compromise because he had staked out a position that was untenable, especially in a time that required providing families with...

By Mickey Edwards | December 6, 2010; 02:23 PM ET | Comments (8)

Progress deferred on equal pay for women

Progress created by the Ledbetter Act was hamstrung last month by the failed passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. The National Organization for Women explains that the act would have deterred wage discrimination by diminishing workarounds in the law and by minimizing retaliation against workers who disclose their wages.

By Selena Rezvani | December 3, 2010; 03:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

Equal-opportunity pain delivery

We really do not want our politicians to exercise leadership. We want them to take care of us and deliver any pain that is necessary to someone else. That's why we have...

By Marty Linsky | December 1, 2010; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (3)

The federal budget as metaphor

Our values and beliefs are embedded in the numbers, and changing the balance sheet is about changing ourselves. Balancing the budget is not just a realistic reallocation of resources; it is a metaphor for our belief about the American character...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 1, 2010; 09:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

We need more government sacrifice

President Obama's move to freeze federal workers' pay and soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner's jettisoning of his private plane are wise moves, but they are mostly symbolic. Our leaders need to be willing to do more and cut our spending down to the point we are just about to hit bone...

By Robert Goodwin | December 1, 2010; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (6)

Looking for love from an unloving public

The only successful way to ensure that Congress will swallow the bitter pill is to have them authorize a neutral group to make the tough decisions and then make sure that Congress is prohibited from making changes to...

By Kathryn Kolbert | December 1, 2010; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (4)

Using the presidential bully pulpit

People on the Right see big government and taxes as the main threat to liberty and prosperity. On the Left, people view cutting the federal budget as a threat to the needy. It is unlikely that the president can persuade either extreme to share a common purpose. But...

By Michael Maccoby | November 30, 2010; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

Slash and smile, with a stiff upper lip

No need to invent a slash-and-smile playbook. There's one already working--in Britain. David Cameron and Nick Clegg, UK prime minister and deputy, provide a shining model of economic and political leadership. In economics they're slashing everything, from momentous entitlements to emotional health centers...

By Ken Adelman | November 30, 2010; 11:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

The next Congress provides the best opportunity

The American people are conflicted between a horror of mounting debt and deficits and their desire not to have their own benefits slashed, so neither party can be successful alone...

By Slade Gorton | November 30, 2010; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leading a moral imperative

Shared sacrifice reinforces the moral imperative of any leadership proposition. And we have a word for men and women who put themselves and their ideas forward for the good of the organization, even when it may mean they have to give up something. We call them leaders...

By John Baldoni | November 30, 2010; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Americans are starved for fiscal truth

We can do it in an intelligent and phased-in manner before a crisis is at our doorstep; or else it will have to be done in a sudden, dramatic and possibly draconian manner in the face of a crisis. The choice is ours...

By David Walker | November 30, 2010; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Obama needs to go to the mat

It is important to stress, to repeat, that in the latter years of the Clinton administration, there was actually a budget surplus. If we could have a surplus a decade ago, there is no reason in principle that we can't have one some years from now...

By Howard Gardner | November 30, 2010; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (2)

Upending conventional wisdom

It seems that at the root of the spending and tax problem is a deficiency in the behavior of the American public, deepened through citizens' misaligned expectations of their leaders...

By Coro Fellows | November 30, 2010; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (4)

Close encounters of the unpleasant kind

TSA is in a tough spot. Every encounter with the screening process is destined to be unpleasant: inconvenient waits, intrusions into personal privacy, the risks of rude workers--all the fun of dealing with the IRS, with the awful specter of September 11 in the background as the inescapable reason for the encounter to begin with...

By Donald Kettl | November 22, 2010; 07:25 PM ET | Comments (3)

Let's end terrorism hysteria

Airport security should have been handled by contractors. If they did something really stupid--like groin-groping--they could be fired. Government folks can't. Plus, then government would be a step removed from glaring stupidity...

By Ken Adelman | November 22, 2010; 03:40 PM ET | Comments (11)

Not the time to backtrack

It is an appropriate decision that should not be reversed by outcries from the public. The agency should exercise courage in maintaining its important decision...

By Pablo Eisenberg | November 22, 2010; 03:36 PM ET | Comments (2)

Get the messaging right

Placing the current, less-than-optional measures within a larger, rational context is the best way for leaders to proceed--whether they head airport security or the US government...

By Howard Gardner | November 22, 2010; 01:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

Know when to let your members off the hook

She has become the issue, rather than keeping front and center the issues she says she cares about--such as restoring the Democratic majority and keeping the White House in 2012. Her seeking re-election to the post is another example of her putting herself above her party and, once again, doing what no legislative party leader should ever do: forcing her members to make a bad vote that is likely to haunt them two years from now. It is as if she has learned nothing at all from...

By Marty Linsky | November 11, 2010; 05:26 PM ET | Comments (4)

Why Pelosi didn't fail

Women and men need to see an example of a woman politician who has had to face a loss but refuses to back down. Too often, women leaders become discouraged after an initial loss, or are encouraged by others to step down following a failure. What would happen if instead of backing down, we came back with even more fire in our...

By Marie Wilson | November 10, 2010; 01:48 PM ET | Comments (7)

Pelosi deserves plaudits

I resist the temptation to jump on the Megabus that is driving the trash talk against Nancy Pelosi. The campaign of vilification orchestrated by Republicans with millions of dollars in often anonymous campaign funds was masterful, but Dems should not be swayed by their opponents' propaganda. Pelosi...

By Kathryn Kolbert | November 10, 2010; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (5)

Things fall apart

How can Congress make the best use of the next two years? To answer that question it is important to note that the interests of the Democratic Party should not supersede the interests of our nation. Rather, our next minority leader must further bipartisan decision-making. As such, there is no need to look at whether Speaker Pelosi is the best person for the...

By Coro Fellows | November 9, 2010; 04:10 PM ET | Comments (3)

Dems need new blood

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...

By Yash Gupta | November 9, 2010; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (3)

'A wish for leaders'

There are some key questions that should be considered by both, even though Senator Reid has retained his formal position and Speaker Pelosi's fate is now dependent on the votes of her peers. In the final analysis, both will have to be authorized by those they want to influence. Can they present and represent their positions...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 9, 2010; 02:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Acceptable vs unacceptable failures

If your personal values are aligned with those of your organization, you will know how much and what type of failure is too much. If you hold true to your values and have the courage to accept responsibility for your actions, you'll know when you need to step aside. At the end of the day, we must act...

By West Point Cadets | November 9, 2010; 02:41 PM ET | Comments (1)

It's a problem of peer judgment

From an "electoral" perspective, Pelosi's performance could, of course, hardly have been worse: Democrats suffered a historic loss of more than 60 seats and Pelosi herself became the poster child for alleged Democratic "wrong track" ideas. But from a "legislative" perspective, Pelosi's performance was also historic in...

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | November 9, 2010; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

How Pelosi is like KU's Coach Gill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces a situation many authority figures face when they are linked to poor results. But Pelosi can take heart, she has a kindred spirit here in the Heartland. University of Kansas head football coach, Turner Gill, isn't a politician, but his job is political. As does Pelosi, Gill makes his living in a full-contact activity. Each also faces a growing chorus of detractors wanting...

By Ed O'Malley | November 9, 2010; 07:53 AM ET | Comments (1)

Good leaders never give up? Nonsense

Forget the myth nurtured on the football field that leaders never give up. Nonsense. True leaders are smart enough to know when to stop bashing their heads against opposition stronger than themselves. Even smarter ones, and may I add more courageous ones, know that the bravest thing to do is to give up...

By John Baldoni | November 8, 2010; 06:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

There is no dilemma

Thoughtful leaders should and do resign after losses far more modest than Nancy Pelosi's of last week. But Republicans, of course, are delighted at her candidacy, delighted at the prospect of her symbolizing Congressional Democrats for two more years. And House Democrats are in disarray, most of them privately wanting to see her back but afraid to say. At least for the moment...

By Slade Gorton | November 8, 2010; 05:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

Democrats should stick with Pelosi and Reid

Both Obama and Pelosi have been effective leaders for the Democrat constituency. Neither has connected with the Republican constituency. Would other Democrats do better? Should Pelosi be replaced by a Democrat considered more centrist? The danger is that this would alienate...

By Michael Maccoby | November 8, 2010; 05:51 PM ET | Comments (10)

'How sweet it is to wear the crown'

We Republicans are delighted that the Democratic faces in Congress remain those of Pelosi and Reid. Their decisions to remain leaders is bad news for Democrats. Yet it's surprisingly unsurprising. Even great historic leaders like Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Maggie Thatcher, and many others simply hung on too long. Why do they, even after achieving great feats? Shakespeare puts the reason simply: "How sweet it is to wear the crown"...

By Ken Adelman | November 8, 2010; 05:44 PM ET | Comments (2)

Some force-fed humility

Congresswoman Pelosi has lost credibility by insisting on remaining the head of the Democratic caucus in the wake of the recent elections. By 'fighting' to stay in the limelight, she leaves the impression that her agenda is more about her than about the things she claims to believe in. A more credible and humble approach would be...

By Bob Schoultz | November 8, 2010; 05:39 PM ET | Comments (7)

On being a 'net negative'

Pelosi has become an anchor around the neck of the once hopeful Democratic Party, and the election should have been signal enough for her to move on. Any attempt on her part to linger, to continue to represent Democratic ideals and intentions, will further set the party back. She's had her opportunity, it's time for new blood...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | November 8, 2010; 05:30 PM ET | Comments (4)

Hope: Version 2.0?

Question: Like U.S. presidents, military and non-profit leaders often face the equivalent of "midterm elections" in which they and their strategies are subject to an initial market test or performance evaluation. What's the first thing President Obama, or any leader,...

By Coro Fellows | November 3, 2010; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (3)

How to take feedback

It has been said that success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. A benefit of living in a democratic society is that the people have a voice. Whether or not this week's public feedback changes the makeup of our elected leadership, every leader should first take an honest look at their future plans and at the successes or failures of past performance. Behind every contentious issue is an opportunity to do...

By West Point Cadets | November 3, 2010; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (1)

The people have spoken--listen and speak back

I thought it was telling that President Obama went on Jon Stewart's show last week and complained that the public wasn't aware of everything his administration has accomplished. Who exactly is to blame for that? The president and his team, who have let their opponents define them. He's a master orator, but he needs to do a better job of communicating empathy and understanding where the problems of Main Street Americans are...

By Yash Gupta | November 2, 2010; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (11)

Work with those that would see you fail

We should not accept the appearance rather than the reality of cooperation; nor can we tolerate the unconditional resistance to change seen these past two years. In the long term those who are all about power not purpose, about self-interest not the common good, about control not compassion will be exposed as non-leaders...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 2, 2010; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (5)

Obama needs to embrace his critics

One of Obama's biggest mistakes in his first two years has been disdaining his critics, beginning with his demeaning reference at that San Francisco fundraiser during his own campaign and culminating in...

By Marty Linsky | November 2, 2010; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (5)

First, focus on jobs

Unfortunately, the midterm elections contain no good news for President Obama and the Democratic party. The mantra that Bill Clinton never forgot--"It's the economy, stupid"--must become President Obama's mantra as well. The disastrous losses in this midterm vote gives the White House a perfect opportunity to refocus on...

By Kathryn Kolbert | November 1, 2010; 04:19 PM ET | Comments (7)

Obama's gift of opportunity

Rather than respond defensively to unambiguously negative feedback, the first thing any organizational leader should do is to thank his evaluators for the opportunity to tackle the areas of deficiency and make things right before problems escalate to irreparable levels. Whether considering President Obama or...

By Amy Fraher | November 1, 2010; 03:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Five ways to serve the people

Take responsibility: if your key stakeholders believe that you have made a mistake, you have made a mistake (either in strategy, communication or style). Avoid 'blaming' your stakeholders...

By Marshall Goldsmith | November 1, 2010; 03:18 PM ET | Comments (2)

James Madison was right

Scrape away the personal attacks, lies and distortions, and we are faced with different interests, passions and theories about what is best for America. Madison was hopeful that an enlightened electorate (and this only included white males with property) would select leaders "whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and...

By Michael Maccoby | October 27, 2010; 01:04 PM ET | Comments (3)

Painting states into colors

The current political campaign language is deeply divisive. Painting states into colors denies our diversity and reinforces the delusion of independence. It rewards insularity and social callousness, i.e., "if I have adequate health care and you don't it's not my problem"; "if my children can get the best education and yours can't, that's too bad"...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | October 26, 2010; 12:17 PM ET | Comments (5)

Disappoint your own people at a rate they can absorb

Elections themselves are the antithesis of leadership. They are as pure a form of authority seeking and pandering as exists in a democratic society. Public yearning for leadership in the run-up to elections is inappropriate and naive. We have designed it that way, creating a system that keeps aspiring office-holders as close to voters as possible. But shame on the successful politician who does not exercise leadership in the months right after the...

By Marty Linsky | October 26, 2010; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Defusing our fiscal time bomb

It will be interesting to see whether President Obama and the new Congressional leadership can pivot after the elections in a manner that will allow some progress in defusing our fiscal time bomb. It clearly is in our nation's interest for them to do so, and hopefully they...

By David Walker | October 26, 2010; 09:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Smart leaders compromise

It is so disheartening to see compromise being dragged through the mud of what purports to be political discourse. Politicians desperate for cash and voters roundly criticize compromise as somehow being a tool of deceit and an indication of lack of spine. When in reality, compromise is not only a sign of intelligence; it is a sign of...

By John Baldoni | October 26, 2010; 09:53 AM ET | Comments (2)

Four questions to ask of Republicans

Regardless of party, campaigning and governing are and will always be different. As Mario Cuomo famously said when he was running for the Democrat nominee for president, "Campaigning is poetry. Governing is prose." In next week's election, the contrast between campaigning and governing will be more pronounced than...

By Warren Bennis | October 26, 2010; 09:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

On compromise and campaign finance

The concept of compromise as a desirable end-result neglects the notion that differences are often acceptable and, indeed, desirable--it should not necessarily be the goal of government to bring all people together. This seems to be particularly true around hot-button social issues, when a politician's "values" are being tested, and compromising to build consensus might compromise...

By Coro Fellows | October 26, 2010; 08:41 AM ET | Comments (13)

Dramatic changes are possible

President Obama campaigned on the promise to be a post-partisan president and governed from the beginning as a hard partisan, so dramatic changes are certainly possible. After November, Republicans will be far stronger than they are now, but they clearly will not be...

By Slade Gorton | October 25, 2010; 04:53 PM ET | Comments (2)

What politicians can learn from actors

Getting the job required the ability to make a positive first impression, to be friendly and likeable when dealing with casting directors, directors and producers, and to be a "quick study"--memorizing almost instantly. Doing the job required real acting abilities--getting into the heart of the character and making the performance...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | October 25, 2010; 12:42 PM ET | Comments (1)

Short-term vs long-term success

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...

By Kathryn Kolbert | October 15, 2010; 02:13 PM ET | Comments (1)

Buck political pragmatism

While some controversial decisions may alienate certain special interests, the "silent majority" is becoming increasingly appreciative of leaders that are willing to stick their necks out for what they believe to be the correct course of action. And most Americans who have seen their pay, benefits and savings erode are frustrated with the lack of belt-tightening in governmental salaries, benefits...

By Robert Goodwin | October 14, 2010; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (2)

Four lessons from Christie

In observing Governor Christie, we can learn how being direct and even aggressive has an appropriate place and time in the repertoire of a leader. In anxious and uncertain times, those most affected often perceive a leader's desire for collaboration as a weakness; a more authoritarian style is palatable, even preferred, by those wanting security. In these times of severe economic...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | October 13, 2010; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Christie is taking a short-sighted approach

Governor Christie may deserve credit for addressing New Jersey's budget problems, and he may be scoring points in certain quarters with his various cuts. However, he appears to be taking a short-sighted approach that could cause his state harm in the long run. Consider the impact on education, for example. For the leader of a state, providing a first-rate public education is virtually a moral obligation, and I can't help but...

By Yash Gupta | October 12, 2010; 04:24 PM ET | Comments (5)

What can we learn from Christie?

Many Democrats, including myself, have been lulled into a begrudging respect for Christie. As much as we'd like to see new multi-billion dollar tunnels and drastic raises in education expenditures, we realize that we're no longer living in the era of the blank check, and no one can get furious...

By Coro Fellows | October 12, 2010; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (10)

Leading a divided public

I cannot imagine a leadership appeal that would unite the country. The differences are too deeply rooted in different values and economic interests. If the economy improves and many more Americans find jobs, the public may again...

By Michael Maccoby | October 12, 2010; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (2)

Govern like you don't care about a second term

Chris Christie's rising popularity points to a lesson all politicians would do well to remember: many Americans feel it's been too long since they've seen politicians who aren't afraid to say what they think and act on it, even if it means risking their political future. Right now Christie is...

By John R. Ryan | October 12, 2010; 10:54 AM ET | Comments (2)

People can handle the truth

People can handle the truth and the biggest deficit we have is a leadership deficit. The federal government as well as many state and local governments have grown too big, promised too much, and become more disconnected with...

By David Walker | October 12, 2010; 09:57 AM ET | Comments (1)

Popularity is easy when troubles run deep

In times of deep troubles about which there is a high degree of public consciousness, leaders like Chris Christie can make tough decisions and gain at least temporary popularity. Winston Churchill is the perfect example. Such decisions are much more difficult when the dangers are either obscure or distant. Under those circumstances only the bravest of leaders, unafraid of losing their offices, will speak...

By Slade Gorton | October 12, 2010; 09:49 AM ET | Comments (1)

Against big government? It's no surprise he's popular

While these may be 'traditionally' unpopular moves, they are clearly not unpopular in New Jersey (at least for now). Many Americans believe that their government is unnecessarily wasting taxpayer dollars. The average government employee is now making more than their counterpart in the...

By Marshall Goldsmith | October 11, 2010; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (7)

The leader as chief strategist

The challenge with senior advisers and other content experts is that they are often just that --experts with deep, specialized knowledge in a narrow domain. They are not attuned to the language, framing and packaging required to sell a difficult decision to...

By Sally Blount | September 27, 2010; 04:46 PM ET | Comments (2)

This isn't "delegatable"

Get the opinions of the best advisers you can find in each of the affected areas and use them to consider the trade offs between, say, political and military effects. Ultimately, only the leader--in this case the president--can integrate this information and make...

By George Daly | September 27, 2010; 04:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

When political realities trump good advice

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...

By Slade Gorton | September 27, 2010; 03:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

Tea party: The new grassroots template

When an organization cedes a measure of control to those it seeks to enlist as supporters, it does more than merely make them feel as if they are a part of something larger than themselves; it instills within them a measure of personal responsibility for protecting and growing the organization. Simply put, the ownership stake that each and every member of the Tea Party movement holds is what drives the levels of activism we've seen to date.

By Robert Goodwin | September 24, 2010; 04:49 PM ET | Comments (3)

Tea Party lacking "post-heroic leadership"

leadership, on leadership, tea party, tea party leadership, Christine o donnell, sarah palin, tea party leaders, who is the leader of the tea party, distributed leadership, tea party, wikipedia...

By Marie Wilson | September 22, 2010; 04:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

The wrong return to our roots

As E.B White put it years ago in a New Yorker essay, "There is a bright future for complexity, what with one thing always leading to another." Let's hope the Tea Party and, more importantly, both of our dominant political parties speak out with clear-eyed optimism for the common good--a common good that rests on the solid grounds of democracy; that rests on a government that would not, should not, be a distributive leadership" (whatever that is); and that rests on a nation with the resources and brains and resilience to solve complex problems that demand equitable, respectful solutions and results.

By Warren Bennis | September 22, 2010; 01:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

The pros and cons of decentralized leadership

Decentralized leadership approaches work well when an organization needs innovation and creative solutions from knowledgeable people who are familiar with the environment and know their role within the organization. The less hierarchical culture allows a free flow of ideas, yet people's experience and professionalism keep chaos from swamping the task.

By Amy Fraher | September 22, 2010; 12:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

Tea Party a call for leadership, not the result of it

This is a group devoid of strong leadership, rather than an example of distributed leadership. Many of the individuals who satellite around this movement are eagerly providing evening news sound bites that are focused on playing to the anxieties and fears resulting from an economy in turmoil, without any realistic platform for improving the lives of Americans.

By Alaina Love | September 22, 2010; 12:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

The tea party, Wikipedia and al-Qaeda: shared leadership lessons?

It's interesting that the two organizations that best exemplify "distributed leadership" (or at least get the most attention for making use of it) are the Tea Party and al-Qaeda. Both illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of this approach to...

By Paul R. Portney | September 21, 2010; 05:15 PM ET | Comments (6)

Nice engine, but does the steering wheel work?

Contrary to popular belief the Tea Party, like most successful distributed-leadership efforts, is enabled by strong executive leaders. While not formal leaders, people like Sarah Palin...

By Deborah Ancona | September 21, 2010; 05:02 PM ET | Comments (1)

Can a movement lead without leaders?

It's one thing to mobilize the troops. It's another to focus them on winning the war. Open-source organizations like the Tea Partiers are great at mobilizing but...

By Donald Kettl | September 21, 2010; 04:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

Sipping different types of tea

The Tea Party has been very successful at spreading their message peer to peer and finding a dedicated cohort of people who are invested in their somewhat amorphous goals. Their biggest difficulty for the long term is preserving that cohesiveness when...

By Kathryn Kolbert | September 21, 2010; 04:04 PM ET | Comments (1)

The power of shared principles

Most Americans, including me, relate favorably to the Tea Party's ideas of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility. However, if the Tea Party fails to develop...

By David Walker | September 21, 2010; 02:31 PM ET | Comments (1)

Decentralized leadership can break things, but it can't build them

Real leadership has many parts: framing the message, developing a coherent strategy, setting clear and achievable goals. Too informal or too decentralized a structure...

By Mickey Edwards | September 21, 2010; 02:21 PM ET | Comments (1)

Of hope and havoc

Leadership, whether distributive or not, must be guided by a compass inscribed with the basic moral code of "first, do no harm." The real issues and concerns of movements are delegitimized when the values...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | September 21, 2010; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (2)

Tea Party: Informal leadership can only get you so far

I'm doubtful that, absent more conventional leadership, the Tea Party will be able to be constructive--as well as destructive. If it manages to achieve legislative or executive results...

By Howard Gardner | September 21, 2010; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Tea Party reveals our leadership vacuum

The Tea Party can be viewed as a manifestation of the current anxiety and uncertainty. This sort of thing can be expected when unemployment is at nearly 10 percent, not counting

By Yash Gupta | September 21, 2010; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (2)

Obama's challenge

Perhaps a reassuring father figure like FDR or Ronald Reagan could persuade Americans that they have nothing to fear but fear itself, that our best days are ahead of us. But Obama is not a father figure...

By Michael Maccoby | September 14, 2010; 05:06 PM ET | Comments (1)

The power of compromise

As an ardent liberal democrat, I never thought I'd be pushing for the election of moderate republicans and democrats, but in fact that is what we need: people who...

By Kathryn Kolbert | September 14, 2010; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Good policy makes good politics

A losing incumbent may be able to console himself over having lost if all along the way he championed what he was convinced was the right course, but can hardly do so if he loses even after compromising his principles. It now appears that an abnormally large number of incumbents...

By Slade Gorton | September 14, 2010; 09:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Balancing process and progress

When fostering change from within an organization, one must be careful to maintain pressure without provoking an allergic response from those...

By George Reed | September 14, 2010; 09:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Tactical flexibility, Reagan-style

Ronald Reagan set the leadership model here - no, not on "prostitution and casual sex," but on remaining firm on strategic goals yet loose on interim measures. Reagan's strategic goals were clear and remarkably consistent. His final address as president in January 1989 featured...

By Ken Adelman | September 7, 2010; 01:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gettysburg lessons reverberate in a modern world

To paraphrase, "a day on the Gettysburg battlefield beats any day in the seminar room." Of course for our U.S. Army War College trip, the seminar room was the battlefield. Over the years, I have been privileged to observe several student groups of senior military officers vicariously experience the great national contest of wills that was our American Civil War. It is advantageous for our students that contest came to be realized in central Pennsylvania.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | August 24, 2010; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (14)

Cheap solutions to complex problems

This is a case of state legislators passing a clearly unconstitutional law in order to appease a vocal constituency-

By Kathryn Kolbert | July 13, 2010; 03:31 PM ET | Comments (22)

What constituents want

I think we should treat the legislation at face value, as a sincere attempt to do something about a major threat to the lawful citizens of Arizona, and not just a disguised slap at the feds.

By Slade Gorton | July 13, 2010; 03:24 PM ET | Comments (17)

'In the absence of orders, attack!'

Why is the Federal Government considering wasting scarce resources in a protracted court battle? Why not solve the real problem?

By Gen. John Batiste (Ret.) | July 13, 2010; 03:18 PM ET | Comments (9)

A just cause

Where Washington, Adams, Franklin and Jefferson saw an oppressive British regime playing an increasingly disruptive role in their daily lives, the men and women railing against big government see an erosion of the very principles those luminaries fought to establish.

By Robert Goodwin | July 2, 2010; 06:33 AM ET | Comments (18)

Open disdain for government

Many of our Founding Fathers believed that we needed a strong central government as an integral part of the American experiment.

By Jon Cowan | July 2, 2010; 06:06 AM ET | Comments (5)

Good ideas obscured by bad leadership

Our rebellious founding fathers were angry and fed up, but they provided leadership that galvanized a budding nation.

By West Point Cadets | July 1, 2010; 03:22 PM ET | Comments (68)

Comfortable with discriminatory views

I wish the tea party's attitudes on issues of race and gender would progress as our national views have progressed since 1776.

By Kathryn Kolbert | July 1, 2010; 12:23 PM ET | Comments (7)

Our feuding Founding Fathers

We revere the founders now and hold their Declaration up as an enduring document of great ideas--which it is--and a ringing sign of their unity--which it wasn't.

By Donald Kettl | July 1, 2010; 12:19 PM ET | Comments (3)

Vague grievances, uncertain goals

The revolution, at least until the outbreak of war, was largely decentralized; so is today's tea party movement. That is where the similarity ends.

By Mickey Edwards | July 1, 2010; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (4)

Blinded by the lights

The problem is that in a world in which so many people are playing to the crowd, substituting buzz for substance, the temptations are hard to ignore.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | June 24, 2010; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Let our neighbors starve?

Accommodation to the loudest voices and trying to convince them they are wrong would be irresponsible.

By Katherine Tyler Scott | June 23, 2010; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Obama's opposable mind

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."

By Howard Gardner | June 23, 2010; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Getting them back to work

Voters who are concerned about the economy simply want jobs so they can protect their families and enliven their communities.

By Kathryn Kolbert | June 22, 2010; 01:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

A simple three-step process

An educated public with different priorities than its own representative government starts to sound a little unconstitutional.

By West Point Cadets | June 22, 2010; 12:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Cutting to the bone doesn't help

It's the true leaders who can make a recalcitrant public understand that the short-term plan isn't always in the nation's best interests.

By Yash Gupta | June 22, 2010; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

No better than Greece

A true stimulus would be directed at the encouragement of long-term private employment.

By Slade Gorton | June 22, 2010; 03:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Time for pragmatic political leadership

The question gets to the heart of what has enabled America to succeed: pragmatism over ideology. Such pragmatism requires political leaders who can both think for themselves as well as do the will of the people.

By John Baldoni | June 22, 2010; 03:22 AM ET | Comments (1)

Create jobs and tax the rich

The issue is not the false dichotomy between voters looking for a deficit reduction versus fiscal stimulus.

By Warren Bennis | June 22, 2010; 03:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

We need manufacturing jobs, not social programs

Most Americans would much rather be part of a high-performing manufacturing team than be dependent on government social programs.

By Gen. John Batiste (Ret.) | June 22, 2010; 03:11 AM ET | Comments (36)

Two antitodes to cynicism

When followers become cynical, they are responding to two key attributes -- or the lack of them -- in their leaders: The presence or lack of perceived trustworthiness and competence.

By Thomas S. Bateman | May 11, 2010; 06:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

No finger pointing

Insurgencies are difficult to manage, and the wrong approach can easily strengthen rather than weaken the opposing power.

By West Point Cadets | May 6, 2010; 01:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Spin Meister at work

Overheard: 'Wind and sun -- they're cute, but they can't keep the American economy running. Now, don't tell me you're a socialist?'

By Alan M. Webber | May 6, 2010; 01:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Eager for free lunches

In the hunt for the Times Square wanna-be bomber, we nailed it cold. Despite everyone's best efforts, the Gulf is a mess. What's the difference?

By Donald Kettl | May 6, 2010; 01:09 PM ET | Comments (21)

A Rose Garden embrace

Don't just think about what the GOP could gain by embracing the tea party movement.

By Ken Adelman | May 6, 2010; 01:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

An insurgency to remember

By resisting the worst impulses of anti-British anger in colonial times and harnessing it to a larger set of ideas and principles, our founding fathers succeeded brilliantly in turning an insurgency into an enduring and great nation.

By Jon Cowan | May 6, 2010; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Iron Man vs. Captain America

Iron Man and Captain America once nearly destroyed each other -- and then mourned for all they had lost. The GOP and tea party should find a 'win/win' collaboration that works.

By Coro Fellows | May 6, 2010; 02:29 AM ET | Comments (3)

A dead cause

An expansion of areas open to offshore drilling has almost certainly been destroyed by BP, and its pursuit for the next several years by Republicans or anyone else is pointless.

By Slade Gorton | May 4, 2010; 01:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Can government fix it?

Recent serial disasters -- Gulf oil spill, Times Square car-bomber, immigration flood, Wall Street malfeasance - shows that conservative Republican anti-governmentism is no longer convincing.

By Ken Adelman | May 4, 2010; 01:52 PM ET | Comments (4)

GOP job plan for Gulf coast?

Out-of-work fishermen are hired to contain the oil spill. Are these the new jobs that Republican leaders promised when they supported off-shore drilling?

By Columbia University students | May 4, 2010; 01:40 PM ET | Comments (3)

Time for a real energy policy

I realize that a tax increase would be unacceptable to many people, but serious thought must be given to an enhanced tax on gasoline.

By Yash Gupta | May 4, 2010; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (4)

Follow the Chernobyl example

The Republican Party can use this Gulf oil spill to promote stricter environmental drilling standards.

By West Point Cadets | May 4, 2010; 10:35 AM ET | Comments (2)

Pile on BP

Ironically, Obama may be their biggest ally here. Marry him on this one. Next embrace those folks in the Gulf states who are already bearing the brunt of the consequences of the spill

By Marty Linsky | May 4, 2010; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (19)

No time for spin

There's no way to spin this ecological and economic disaster in the Gulf, and Republicans would be foolish to try.

By Jon Cowan | May 4, 2010; 05:20 AM ET | Comments (1)

Lessons from Three-Mile Island

The midst of a crisis is not an appropriate time to appeal to the emotions of the moment in the making of broad policy choices.

By George Daly | May 4, 2010; 05:10 AM ET | Comments (1)

Will the opportunity be wasted?

Imagine the broad appeal of a Republican effort requiring better safeguards and emergency procedures for off-shore drilling.

By Ed Ruggero | May 4, 2010; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

'Not in my term of office'

The art of leadership includes preparing for the unexpected. In an unpredictable world, that's more valuable than ever.

By Michael Useem | April 14, 2010; 09:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Between risk and certainty

World leaders like President Obama in Washington this week can learn from this by not shying away from the challenge of this decision making process.

By Amy Fraher | April 13, 2010; 03:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

The duty of leaders

This level of ignorance is, in itself, a high-risk problem, making it that much tougher - and that much more urgent - for our leaders to guide the way toward a threat-free future.

By Yash Gupta | April 13, 2010; 12:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Was 9/11 real enough?

If somehow, someway, Iran or al-Qaeda acquired the materials to create a nuclear bomb, the threat of a nuclear attack would not seem so 'abstract and complicated.'

By West Point Cadets | April 13, 2010; 11:14 AM ET | Comments (13)

We are all 'slackers'

Rally around a common foe, make it personal, and tap into deeper values -- This formula can be used to engage people on many of the long-term threats we now face.

By Jon Cowan | April 13, 2010; 06:06 AM ET | Comments (1)

Long-term thinking

Focusing on future, abstract issues instead of the immediate ones? That sounds a lot like the definition of maturity.

By Columbia University students | April 13, 2010; 05:59 AM ET | Comments (1)

The realistic leader

Is it likely that a free country will be willing to make major present sacrifices against an uncertain and distant future? The leaders sees 'through a glass darkly.'

By Slade Gorton | April 13, 2010; 05:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

A hole 'narrow but deep'

The leader should focus the group on the cataclysmic consequences, rather than the improbability of such an event happening.

By Ken Adelman | April 13, 2010; 05:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Curing our evolutionary hangover

Q: This week's nuclear summit presents one of those difficult leadership challenge: focusing attention and resources on a low-probability problem that would be disastrous if it occurred. Global warming, 100-year floods, financial meltdowns are other examples. How can a leader...

By Coro Fellows | April 13, 2010; 04:27 AM ET | Comments (5)

Inspiration in the face of apocalypse

The public tends to turn off when faced with complicated, scary scenarios. Instead, leaders should offer an inspiring vision.

By Michael Maccoby | April 12, 2010; 04:06 PM ET | Comments (2)

One nuclear bomb can ruin a whole presidency

You can do a lot of little things right and be an adequate leader, but if you fail to do the one big thing, and you are a total failure as a leader.

By Alan M. Webber | April 12, 2010; 03:53 PM ET | Comments (1)

'Set the azimuth' on al-Qaeda

Why aren't all elements of our national power applied to this problem of nuclear security? When will we appreciate that the solution involves much more than our great military?

By Gen. John Batiste (Ret.) | April 12, 2010; 03:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Make it personal

When it comes to global warming, nuclear disarmament or any other issue with far-reaching consequences you communicate on a level that people can understand.

By John Baldoni | April 12, 2010; 02:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

The 'interpersonal gap'

How can our leaders work toward a common vision? They must tone down the rhetoric and actively listen to close the interpersonal gap.

By Rick Rochelle | March 24, 2010; 04:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Republican Plan B?

Republican leadership wagered everything on defeating health care legislation and crippling Obama's presidency.

By Michael Maccoby | March 23, 2010; 08:49 PM ET | Comments (1)

Democratic fortunes

Repeal is unlikely, impossible before 2013 at the earliest. Nevertheless, it may be a good rallying cry between now and November.

By Slade Gorton | March 23, 2010; 08:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Sad day for Washington

Leaders find a way to build consensus and community. Washington is doing neither of these.

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | March 23, 2010; 08:30 PM ET | Comments (28)

The entitlements we love

Once the bill is implemented, it'll be hard to convince even Tea Party activists that lower insurance premiums and coverage for all children is a Marxist evil.

By Columbia University students | March 23, 2010; 03:35 PM ET | Comments (2)

Myopic move from the 'party of no'

The Social Security, Civil Rights, and Medicare acts were all strenuously opposed and lambasted as catastrophes in the making. Fortunately, fearful opposition didn't stop their passage.

By Yash Gupta | March 23, 2010; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Don't ask me, I support it

Asking me to help the Republicans trash the new health care law is like asking James Carville to give sound advice to the Republicans.

By Howard Gardner | March 23, 2010; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (1)

If you can't beat 'em...

If health-care reform turns out to be as popular as Democrats hope, the GOP should consider one of the oldest political tricks in the book: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

By Coro Fellows | March 23, 2010; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Original 'Tea Party' leaders

Sam Adams was a firebrand, while John Adams was more measured. Sam is now known for the beer that bears his name. John Adams became president of the United States.

By Donald Kettl | March 23, 2010; 05:59 AM ET | Comments (36)

Change speaks for itself

Rather than cry foul right away, Republicans should learn from Apple's handling of failed CEO Gil Amelio: Be patient and see the results, then let the people speak.

By West Point Cadets | March 23, 2010; 05:40 AM ET | Comments (9)

No leadership here

Making political hay out of insurance access isn't leadership. Real leadership on health care starts with wellness and prevention.

By Bill George | March 23, 2010; 05:32 AM ET | Comments (4)

Sensing weakness

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a huge mistake with the timing of the announcement of new settlements. The U.S. made a mistake taking the disagreement public.

By Robert Goodwin | March 17, 2010; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (4)

Transcript: Rudy Giuliani on the 2008 presidential campaign

"I have no idea if I would do it again, but I would try not to make the same mistakes if I did it again."

By On Leadership video transcripts | March 10, 2010; 05:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Our need to feel protected

Holder should be strengthening the administration by responding to the public's need to feel protected from America's enemies.

By Michael Maccoby | February 17, 2010; 06:45 AM ET | Comments (18)

Scary Manhattan fly-by

I can understand Holder's desire for autonomy on this issue, but so far he has shown questionable judgment.

By Robert Goodwin | February 17, 2010; 06:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Our wrong-headed politics

The public has come to expect that Justice Department decisions should be based on political grounds. That is simply wrong!

By Howard Gardner | February 16, 2010; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (12)

Leadership, not lawyer-ship

Eric Holder should have considered the political issue from the beginning.

By Yash Gupta | February 16, 2010; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (3)

Politics IS the 'right thing'

Political considerations and the potential consequences of decisions are part of good executive-branch judgment.

By Bob Schoultz | February 16, 2010; 05:48 AM ET | Comments (6)

Emotional legitimacy

In the case of the 9/11 trial, a deeply personal pain has been unnecessarily politicized.

By Coro Fellows | February 16, 2010; 02:30 AM ET | Comments (20)

Game-changing results

What will change the game for Palin are results. She will need to roll up her sleeves and get to work─and bring others along.

By Robert Goodwin | February 10, 2010; 02:08 PM ET | Comments (3)

The genius and pitfalls of charisma

Palin makes her audience feel good about themselves, but most importantly, she makes them want her as their leader.

By Joanne B. Ciulla | February 10, 2010; 09:17 AM ET | Comments (21)

Supreme tea-party hostess

Sarah Palin is adept at the shout out, not the figure out or plan out.

By Ken Adelman | February 9, 2010; 01:15 PM ET | Comments (10)

The Palin of the past

Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor, however short, demonstrated there is a kernel of classic, honest, humble leadership in Palin.

By Coro Fellows | February 9, 2010; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (14)

Faux leadership stripes

The notion that one has to have strong leadership skills to attain high office seems anachronistic. Celebrity appeal, a dash of charisma, and a pandering message seem to suffice.

By Howard Gardner | February 9, 2010; 06:09 AM ET | Comments (67)

Become a more interesting person

The only way for her to engage skeptics is, coincidentally, to do what she needs to do any way to be a better leader: listen and learn.

By Alan M. Webber | February 9, 2010; 06:05 AM ET | Comments (2)

Senator Palin, maybe

Palin continues to rally the enthusiasm of her myriad of admirers and cause her liberal critics to froth at the mouth.

By Slade Gorton | February 9, 2010; 05:59 AM ET | Comments (12)

Leading the 'party of no'

It's one thing to stir people to action. It's another to show them which way to go.

By Donald Kettl | February 9, 2010; 05:41 AM ET | Comments (220)

By punditry alone?

If punditry alone is enough to get you elected president, then our democracy is in more of a disarray than I care to believe.

By Marie Wilson | February 8, 2010; 04:50 PM ET | Comments (6)

Skillfully playing with ignorance

Part of her feel-good charm is that she appears to believe the distortions of the truth and misunderstanding of the facts that fit her fans' prejudices.

By Michael Maccoby | February 8, 2010; 04:12 PM ET | Comments (15)

Being Sarah

I am not sure that she is - or should be - laying the foundation for a possible presidential candidacy.

By Marshall Goldsmith | February 8, 2010; 04:08 PM ET | Comments (5)

Flattery is betrayal

As public servants, we demean and betray our citizens if we do not provide them with the brutal facts and truths.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | February 4, 2010; 06:23 AM ET | Comments (1)

End the spending binge

It's time to begin a process that will engage the American people with the hard facts, the plain truth and the tough choices relating to our nation's deficits.

By David Walker | February 3, 2010; 04:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Financial manifesto

If you accept the premise that the public has lost confidence in government, then it complicates the ability of the country to handle the truth about the government budget deficits.

By Kurt Schmoke | February 3, 2010; 12:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

From service to skepticism

It will take more than sweetly delivered words to put the faith back in our hearts that government is spending our money wisely.

By Robert Goodwin | February 3, 2010; 10:17 AM ET | Comments (26)

The health care imperative

Neither the president nor congressional leaders have made a clear case to the American people for tax increases nor service decreases.

By Michael Maccoby | February 2, 2010; 03:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bitter medicine

Leadership is about mobilizing people to do the work they would rather not do.

By Ed O'Malley | February 2, 2010; 03:28 PM ET | Comments (11)

Bold truth, political suicide

What we need most now isn't just leadership. It's civility, so we can talk about the issues that matter.

By Donald Kettl | February 2, 2010; 03:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Acting responsibly

There are those who think spending more money in the short term is a necessary evil; others think that cutting costs is our only option.

By Katherine Tyler Scott | February 2, 2010; 03:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Getting what we demand

While Americans can handle the painful truth about tax increases and budget cuts, we don't demand it.

By Daisy Wademan Dowling | February 2, 2010; 02:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

California's cautionary tale

For a gripping lesson in budget management, look no further than the celebrities in the California state legislature.

By Coro Fellows | February 2, 2010; 02:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Something-for-nothing culture

Americans have a proud history of sacrifice in times of hardship. I believe we can do it again if President Obama can inspire us to do so.

By Yash Gupta | February 2, 2010; 02:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Feeding the ignorance

Most Americans cannot even conceptualize the idea that we need to have both higher taxes AND fewer services.

By Howard Gardner | February 2, 2010; 05:50 AM ET | Comments (30)

Wiser heads

Americans who care about their nation have less difficulty facing tough choices than do their representatives in Congress.

By Slade Gorton | February 2, 2010; 05:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Handling the ugly truth

The real question is whether or not our elected officials have the backbone to lead.

By Gen. John Batiste (Ret.) | February 1, 2010; 03:44 PM ET | Comments (2)

Cheerleading syndrome

The cheerleading effect happens when the only acceptable message is a positive one. Everyone wants the party to go on, even after they have forgotten what the celebration was for.

By Don Vandergriff | February 1, 2010; 02:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

No exceptions for Congress

The nation cannot be deprived of the opportunity for a frank and open discussion of race. Trent Lott should have kept his job -- and Harry Reid should not lose his.

By Slade Gorton | January 14, 2010; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (1)

Fewer than 42 years

Instead of another zero tolerance policy, we need freedom and openness to report and deal with offenses like Harry Reid comments.

By Robert Goodwin | January 14, 2010; 05:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Our nation's success

We will have succeeded as a nation when we can engage in respectful conversations about race without fear or censure, but instead with a true desire to understand perspectives that may be different from our own.

By Alaina Love | January 12, 2010; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (2)

Underground bigotry

The existence of colorism is a fact in this country. How can we counter bigotry if we drive honest, open communication underground?

By Katherine Tyler Scott | January 12, 2010; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (24)

Whispering about race

Harry Reid's comments don't just address how we speak about race; they reveal how we think about it.

By Coro Fellows | January 12, 2010; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (5)

Theater we can't afford

We need to work together instead of adding to an already-contentious atmosphere by turning Harry Reid's unfortunate choice of words into political theater.

By Yash Gupta | January 12, 2010; 11:43 AM ET | Comments (4)

No double standard

There are many profound issues about race in America to address with deep thought and concern. Indefensible as it is, this incident is not one of them.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | January 12, 2010; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (2)

Worth talking about

I have seen many leaders make mistakes when in the midst of race talk. And I am particularly intrigued when white leaders make those mistakes.

By Martin Davidson | January 12, 2010; 06:42 AM ET | Comments (27)

Shut your mouth

We are all going to make mistakes like Reid did. The best advice is shut your mouth, listen, and show people the respect you would want for you and whatever group you identify with.

By Juana Bordas | January 12, 2010; 06:37 AM ET | Comments (4)

The tender topics

Harry Reid tread into territory we all know to be explosive.

By Ken Adelman | January 11, 2010; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (4)

Costly missteps

we all say foolish things. What counts is how we behave when our words come back to haunt us, and Reid has passed that test.

By Howard Gardner | January 11, 2010; 02:23 PM ET | Comments (6)

Save us from shallowness

Leadership in America seems increasingly to consist not of making bold decisions but of explaining away relatively harmless mistakes.

By Alan M. Webber | January 11, 2010; 02:12 PM ET | Comments (5)

The price of progress

How often does the fear of conflict get in your way of advocating for what you care most about?

By Ed O'Malley | December 23, 2009; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

A question of motives

If you believe, as he claims, that his actions were largely motivated by his desire to do what is right (in the long-term) for our country - then he should be praised for being courageous and patriotic.

By Marshall Goldsmith | December 23, 2009; 12:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Judging Joe

Whether Senator Lieberman deserves a place in principled heaven or self-indulgent hell turns on two very different issues: the merits of his position and the nature of his intent.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | December 23, 2009; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (63)

Enjoying the heat

Real leadership from Joe Lieberman would have seen him annoy insurance company CEOs, not Harry Reid.

By Marty Linsky | December 23, 2009; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

The kiss of death

It is in the darkest of hours that our political leaders are called upon to be their most authentic and reliable selves.

By Alaina Love | December 22, 2009; 06:55 AM ET | Comments (7)

One party's traitor, another party's hero

What happens when your conscience comes in direct conflict with your political party's core values?

By Coro Fellows | December 22, 2009; 06:29 AM ET | Comments (2)

Ten more like him

Had we had ten Joe Liebermans, evenly divided, we would have a more modest and far better result on health care reform.

By Slade Gorton | December 22, 2009; 06:23 AM ET | Comments (5)

Exactly what we need

Do we need more Joe Liebermans? Absolutely. We need more congressional leaders who owe their allegiance to the nation, not to a president, a party leader, or a political club.

By Mickey Edwards | December 22, 2009; 06:18 AM ET | Comments (19)

Annals of narcissism

Joe Lieberman's role in health-care legislation reinforces the impression that political narcissism has replaced serious engagement with public policy and the public's business.

By Alan M. Webber | December 22, 2009; 06:09 AM ET | Comments (11)

Bipartisanship is overrated

It's the premise of bipartisanship that's faulty - namely, that there's one right answer to health care, deficit reduction, or whatever.

By Ken Adelman | December 21, 2009; 03:13 PM ET | Comments (3)

A no-brainer

Leaders need to consistently present their social and political value system, with positions that are changed only for good and sufficient reason.

By Howard Gardner | December 21, 2009; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (5)

Ego over team-work

When you accept a leadership position on behalf of a political party you have an obligation to support the party on key votes.

By Richard Celeste | December 21, 2009; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (9)

Putting in charitably

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Joe Lieberman's statements and votes on the health care legislation would help to protect a major employer in his state.

By Kurt Schmoke | December 21, 2009; 01:31 PM ET | Comments (9)

Stop the bleeding

To those who salute congressional leadership for cutting this health-care deal, I'd like to ask: Do you still call a compromise a compromise when you're the one who's bleeding?

By Daisy Wademan Dowling | November 13, 2009; 06:49 AM ET | Comments (15)

The ugly end-game

Critics on both sides will make Senate passage of the bill ugly, but those in the center have the main task: Getting the votes to enact health-care reform.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | November 11, 2009; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (1)

A poor salesman

President Obama has not taken a strong leadership role on health care; he didn't use his bully pulpit to spell out clearly why the nation needs this reform.

By Yash Gupta | November 11, 2009; 11:06 AM ET | Comments (49)

Declining 'credibility capital'

Despite winning large majorities in Congress, Obama has found it extremely difficult to implement his vision, including a reform of health care.

By Michael Maccoby | November 10, 2009; 03:45 PM ET | Comments (2)

Game time in the Senate

Our Senators can no longer hide, threaten, or negotiate their own individual bill; no one gets a free pass for denying the American public a fair up-or-down vote on this bill.

By Andy Stern | November 10, 2009; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (5)

One step ahead

Much like the real "two-step," leadership is a dance that takes you forward and backward.

By Ed O'Malley | November 10, 2009; 05:59 AM ET | Comments (1)

The barest compromise

A 220-215 win on the House bill shows that Democratic leaders gave no more than they absolutely had to.

By Slade Gorton | November 10, 2009; 05:51 AM ET | Comments (2)

A realist's achievement

Leaders must always weigh and rank priorities because they can seldom get everything they want.

By Mickey Edwards | November 10, 2009; 05:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

No genuine leadership

Having chosen to put politics ahead of policy, the Democrats are left to compromise their values to force the bill through.

By Bill George | November 10, 2009; 05:40 AM ET | Comments (11)

Villified leaders

Vilifying leaders for prioritizing goals inhibits their ability to do exactly what they were entrusted to do: make decisions.

By Coro Fellows | November 10, 2009; 01:31 AM ET | Comments (18)

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