When one looks at the plethora of leaders who have come and gone, just in our lifetimes alone, one wonders how it is that some people could have possibly achieved the status of “leader” and worse, how they were tolerated or permitted to remain in office when they were demonstrably inadequate or downright destructive.
Although the Republicans in the USA probably didn’t appreciate the statement, I offered this statement about George W. Bush, who at that time had just been succeeded by the newly elected Obama administration. Clearly, Bush was not only a bad leader, he was actually walking America to the brink of disaster. If you were not living in America during the time of his “administration”, (and I was) all of this might sound weak in comparison to the actuality of having lived under the Bush administration, who in fact ran an entire nation by leveraging fear. That’s right, pure FEAR. Here was a country that was aggressive, proactive, the capitalist center of the world, and albeit, not perfect, it was certainly a forward looking nation. Within months of taking office, Bush had capitalized on 9-11 and injected a fear campaign into America and he used that leverage to get what he wanted. He not only launched a military invasion of Afghanistan, but he followed it with one into Iraq, which Americans were violently opposed to. He created an internal policing organization called Homeland Security, and got a new Act put into effect, the PATRIOT ACT, to allow the government agencies to spy on any American with due cause for the safety of the nation. Camp GITMO (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) the first internment camp since World War II, was set up where “suspected” terrorists, including Americans, were shipped without trial. And, we lived under a constant barrage of White House declarations, announcing that a suspected terrorist attack was in the works and that the entire country was under Yellow Alert. People were kept in a state of fear, distrust at anyone who looked vaguely Islamic, and a general sense that the world was a very dangerous place. Sound familiar? That could have been another state through history – and yet, that was America, transformed by one bad leader in a matter of years.
When a “leader” uses fear to control the populace, he or she is NOT a leader. Any two-bit criminal or Mafia thug can inject fear into people and get them to follow them over a cliff. Hitler was great at it. He wasn’t a leader, he used provocative force, with his network of internal police, spies and Nazi camp followers, to pluck anyone who uttered a word against him, so of course, everyone else was in terror and they “followed”. There is a difference between following and having a gun pointed at one’s back forcing one to march.
Bush was not a leader. He was a manipulator, and he used the force of 9-11 to accomplish an agenda, doubtfully his, but certainly profitable for certain camps, but not America.
I could discuss what to do about such leaders, and we all would have different theories on the matter, some more radical than others, but the point here is that there were definite signs to show that these men, who are mere reflections of other “bad leaders” through time, were not suited to the job. You can tell a destructive leader, one who will tear a nation down, as opposed to up, by several factors:
1. Do they have an actual production record as a leader? One must critically assess what they have ACCOMPLISHED before allowing them into office. Just because their platform says that they were the governor of this state, or headed up this or that association, means nothing. WHAT did they accomplish that was truly beneficial for the GREATER GOOD of humanity. Does their performance record actually show that they put the PEOPLE ahead of themselves, that they truly worked FOR the people and that they improved the general welfare, the productivity of their zone, the infrastructure to care for and forward the lives of those under their charge? Can they show actual statistics to support these matters or just words?
2. Do THEY inject their company, their group or their nation with hope and inspiration, or do they use fear, force, intimidation, threat of loss to attempt to motivate people? A good leader inspires, a bad one uses a whip.
3. Did their rise to power come as a result of true public support, or was it manipulated by large donations and ad campaigns, smartly worded to push the buttons of general public issues so as to bend support their way.
If you find yourself with a leader who is not effective, not achieving results, and worse, one who is actually sinking the ship, look at 1-3 above, and particularly #1 and #2 and you will usually find the source of the problem to be there. Take action accordingly because trust me, if they don’t pass the acid test of 1-2 above, they won’t be a good leader and you will find yourself picking up the pieces afterwards. Bad leaders don’t become good leaders during their term. Don’t mistake this to mean that a good leader must be perfect, or that he or she won’t make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Every decision will not be perfect. One has to look at the broader picture, not just the pieces, to assess their true value.
I have led people and I have been led, and I have known some brilliant leaders and others who didn’t deserve the time of day and yet who wielded a very large hammer. This is no statement against leadership or in favour of rebellion. It is simply a statement of facts because our lives and our future livelihood depends, in part, on the quality of leadership around us, so it is something of importance in our lives.
And by the way, one’s personal life, one’s sexual activities when they were growing up, one’s slight indiscretions are NOT even vaguely a factor in determining a good or bad leader – contrary to the sensationalism the media makes of these matters.
I would like to recommend that one uses the three factors given above as a general guide for choosing real leaders. If a man or a woman can inspire, can truly improve conditions for the GENERAL good and works FOR the people and not against them; and their rise to power was based on true support and not manipulative measures to catapult them into office through polished campaigns, you have a gem. Keep it polished.