Leadership and Politics: Cognitive Dissonance?

This morning I read a headline of a local newspaper regarding the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war on a news stand. They screamed “How much Longer?!”

This is not an article on whether the USA should leave or stay, rather I want to ask the question of whether the democratic candidates running for president get it? With all their rhetoric about immediate withdrawals I think not.

Our culture is one that has glorified the “quick fix”. We have pills to take if you don’t like how you look or feel, crash diets and exercise regimes promising immediate results that will transform you. If you cannot afford something there is always credit, easy payment terms or better yet deferred payments. We have drive through because fast food is too slow, and electronic communication tools that allow us to skip the actually spending time with other people. We must have the fastest computer, the latest gadget, the new next thing. It seems to be all about now. What fueled the sub-prime mortgage crisis if not the availability of cheap credit with little perceived downside for the borrower. 

In contrast to this entitlement focused perspective is that of true leadership. True leadership recognizes that there is a price to be paid, an investment to be made. Developing leadership capacity is not a quick fix program; it is a long term process. It gets back to some ancient wisdom I read recently, you reap what you sew. Invest in growth and discovery and reap the reward of wise leadership. Invest in quick fixes and easy solutions and reap what…?

Lead well…for the long term 


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One comment on “Leadership and Politics: Cognitive Dissonance?
  1. Apparently, many of the professionals on the lending side discounted the downside risk also. This unfortunately, is common in human behavior. Professionals get sucked up in bubble investing and purchase investments like mortgage backed securities just like the amateurs.

    So good leaders also have to know how the human brain fools us so they can work harder on communicating the potential pitfalls while keeping the message positive as well. This is possibly one of the more difficult task of leaders.

    People hear the message but almost automatically discount the part they don’t believe. In a small team, you can work on two communications to detect the bias each of us has. Then you can work on balance of that bias against the facts.

    In politics, the two-way communication is of course more difficult. It is probably made more difficult by politicians who use these natural filters to what they perceive as to their advantage rather than to the countries advantage.

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