Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The leaders we want to be led by

My heart goes out to the community of Newtown, Connecticut, and especially to the families affected by last week's tragedy.

Like many others around the world I spent Friday night glued to the news channels until the thousandth repeat of Barack Obama in tears drove me away. Flippant as that may sound, that news conference moved me, and made me realise that for me the most important quality of leadership is the ability to connect to the people one is leading.

That news clip of a nation's president moved to tears reminded me of an excellent (and very long) article on work-life balance that I recently stumbled across. The article, titled Why Women Still Can't Have It All, by Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly Director of Policy Planning in Obama's administration, really struck a chord for me. Take the time to read the full article. It's worth it.

In that article, the writer shares her opinion that our leaders should also be our role models. She cites an example that I found very sad - a son giving a eulogy for his dad saying he understood that his father was never around for him because he was busy helping other people.
Is that the kind of person we want leading our society - someone who chose their job over their family?

Personally, I want the society I live in to be led by someone who thinks family is pretty important, because it's important to me. I want someone who thinks that health and safety are important issues, because they're important to me.

So what are your thoughts - would you rather be led by someone who devotes every spare moment to the job of running the country, or someone who feels as a parent first and a public servant after?

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