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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Myth of Bush as a "Leader"

Couldn't move on without saying a big 'HURRAH' about this insightful post by Kathleen Reardon, a Phi Beta Kappa professor of management and organization at the University of Southern California. She shines a concise light on the oxymoronic 'detached' leadership style in evidence at the White House the past five years.

The "leader" who doesn't listen is the leader who doesn't learn. This is a frightening being convinced of its own flawlessness, intolerant and disdainful of disagreement. People like this are chosen for leadership when we fall for the bravado -- the conviction charade -- the walk, the talk, the condescension and indifference.

... We now have in the highest office in the land a man who is a walking antithesis to the demands of the time. He doesn't communicate. Delegate and disappear is his leadership style. We wait for him to snap out of it, to explain the war or the plan, but he can't stop sneering, patronizing, demeaning, or taking delight in the mere completion of a speech. He loves the trappings of power, the multiple flags, and the nodding uniformed legions standing expressionless at his back. It's a stage set...

....But before we blame all the detachment on George, or mistakenly consider him the cause, we need to see how insidious the spread of this illness in the name of leadership has become in our culture.
Way to go, prof.

Dan Froomkin's blog covers related topics:

What does it say about the president of the United States that he won't go anywhere near ordinary citizens any more? And that he'll only speak to captive audiences?

President Bush's safety zone these days doesn't appear to extend very far beyond military bases, other federal installations and Republican fundraisers.



No doubt the catalyst to all this discussion (about 6 years too late, I might add) started with the recent comments by "he's-on-a-roll, let's-keep-him-talking" former chief of staff to Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson. He is quoted by Associated Press reporter Anne Gearan as saying this about Bush:

[He] was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of post-war planning, allowing underlings to exploit Bush's detachment and make bad decisions.

Now he tells us!

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