Saturday, January 23, 2010

On Leadership and Arrogance

Several years ago, I came up with a way to sort out various labels that we use when we talk about politicians and political parties. And being married to a management scholar makes the 2X2 grid come naturally. We have a two binary distinctions. The first is whether the position taken is popular or unpopular. The second division is whether I like the position taken.

When a politician does something popular which I dislike, it is called pandering to the public, while when I agree with it it is called representing the will of the people. When a politician does something that I like but is unpopular, it is an example of leadership; but if it is something that I disagree with, then it is arrogance.

Popular Unpopular
I agree Will of the people Leadership
I disagree Pandering Arrogance

Now that it has become clear that the Democratic party is trying to push through things for which there is not a great deal of public support, it is up to you whether this is to be called leadership or arrogance.

Replace the people!

What particularly prompted me to post this note is a discussion I had with my wife about Charles Blow's opinion piece Mob Rules in the New York Times today (January 23, 2101). When my wife read it, she said that it reminded her of old joke when the Hungarian Communist Party did some polling and discovered that they were fiercely unpopular people. Their response, as the jokes goes, was a call to replace the people.

I have spent most of my life holding minority opinions (and so has my wife). So I was reminded of this distinction between arrogance and leadership that I've made before.

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