Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Huffington Post Contribution

It's hard to think of a site that gets more passionate and interested (and interesting) readers than the HuffPo, which is why I'm delighted to get my thoughts added to the roll call there. Here's my most recent contribution:

The Real Stress Test: What Does Leadership Look Like?
The eyes of the punditocracy are fixed on the banks and their performance under the Obama administration's stress tests -- and whether the tests to determine the banks' financial stability were tough enough. Meanwhile, the real story is, as usual, hiding in plain sight. We're watching America learn a new definition of leadership, one that, interestingly, finally gets us past the test of toughness.

For as long as I can remember, Americans have adopted a one-size fits all definition of leadership. Whether in politics or business, we wanted leaders who were tough enough to make the hard decisions. Sure, as vice president, Dick Cheney was a glowering, mean SOB -- but he was our glowering, mean SOB! His scowl was enough to keep the terrorists at bay. On Wall Street, Jimmy Cayne, Bear Stearns ex-CEO, and his ilk were famous -- or notorious -- for lacking any visible sign of weakness... or humanity. Leaders, real leaders, we thought, not only never let the other side see them sweat; they never admit a mistake, never acknowledge any doubt, and never, never apologize. Because, as George W. Bush famously demonstrated when asked the question during one of the presidential debates, real leaders never make a mistake.

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