LONDON — There are endless discussions to follow and videos to watch this morning. The two candidates for US President almost came to blows last night in an odd and hostile affair.
It makes you wonder though how the behaviour of two men — flesh and blood and insecurities, like you and I — has come to be so central to the future of at least 312 million people?
Yesterday we had a lovely group of European public sector employees in for a chat. They were heads of communications in an organisation that is under threat. And, as their worry and frustration grew, one eventually asked, “Why are our leaders letting us down?”
In America, France, China… and many other places they may be asking the same thing.
And I take exception with the question.
Why do we expect our leaders to be heroes? We seem to believe that we have built a great structure and bureaucracy so that ONE SUPERHUMAN person can come in and fix it all.
Does that sound reasonable? Would you really want to be President of the United States of America… Prime Minister of India… or anything else where everyone expected you to fix their problems?
I don’t think I would.
Leadership is the sum total of the work of many people. My European friends yesterday have a very big job to do in helping their leaders to show leadership.
In fact, their job may be easier than the leader’s and much more forgiving. But it could be more important. Because without the support and work of others a leader is nothing more than a figurehead. And the confusion often comes in the idea that the leader needs to have all the answers.
Leaders don’t have all the answers, they need your help to find them and to make them work.