In corporate America leadership is about having a vision, inspiring others to support that vision and maintaining the clarity and decision-making power to know the right things to do to make something good happen. It is about trusting and being trusted. Great business leaders do not concern themselves with public opinion or politics, but with making the customers, employees, vendors and shareholders realize an appropriate level of gain for their efforts and investment.
In Baltimore it seems quite obvious that elected officials exhibited a different view of what leadership is amounting to little more than making reactive decisions and taking (or not taking) actions apparently motivated by politics. Inevitably, it is fair to conclude that the sum total of their actions could result in another round of major civil disturbance on some near-term future date.
It is true that facts aren’t facts until they are known, but more often than not, police investigations take weeks or even months to complete. In Baltimore, however, within a few days of the incident, it appears that the information available was indisputable mostly based on a citizen provided video that gave rise to a press conference where pages of ‘facts’ were presented in narrative form by the state attorney against six police officers.
Guilty until proven innocent was real clear in the tone and voice of the press messaging. Politics or leadership? Justice or political correctness?
The mayor then announces the handling of sweeping reforms of the police department that has been somewhat out of control in certain parts of the community for years. So where has she been?
Is it possible the lack of leadership is the casualty of being focused on a greater goal – the satisfaction of political correctness with an eye always to the next election instead of doing what these people were elected/appointed to do? Run a city, take care of the citizens and properly administer justice for defendants, not the family, not the victim and not the political process.
Right or wrong on any of the issues is not what is important here – what is important are the issues with leadership and the failure to act and the consequences the community suffers as a result. In business, CEOs lose companies, customers and their jobs for committing improperly motivated acts.
The apparent lack of leadership in anticipating possible events led to the fallout of a very unhappy community over an alleged mishandling of a suspected lawbreaker, the failure of the police to step in and quell disorder rather than stand around and look at lawbreakers, the failure to call for help when needed.
One can argue that behind the scenes the decision-making was based on facts as yet known but not released to the media or the public and therefore the “right” moves were made despite the consequences.
So now the politicians argue that the lessons learned were useful, but at great cost. We will do better next time. Really?
The notion that lessons learned have any real value is false. Lessons used in business, in life, and politics are what really counts and what the community should be able to count on.
So, in the final analysis, was leadership exhibited by telling police to stand down; let the community have space to exercise their constitutional amendment rights despite the high price the community ultimately paid in injury and damage?
Leaders who delay actions and make political decisions don’t protect their employees and will ultimately fail long term.
Dithering is not part of good leadership. As leader of the city, did the mayor exhibit the sort of leadership needed or the sort of leadership necessary to get reelected?