Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Principles of Leadership

When assuming a leadership role, those who follow you expect you to be ethical. They expect that everything you do will be honest, right, moral, and positive. For me personally, no leader at a national and international level is completely ethical. Each leader makes a deals to try to get what they want and need for their constituents. However, some leaders struggle by simply not making deals with the devil and being ethical. For me, when deciding if a leader is ethical, I look at the product they produced, the scandals that erupted during that time and how they handled it, the period in which they lived in and the issues they were fighting for and against.

One great example of an ethical leader was Harold Washington. He is a lesser known mayor of Chicago, who died tragically in office during his 4 year. He was the first and only African American mayor. His tenure as mayor was from 1983 through 1987. During his time in office, he faced racial hostility from white democrats and white ethnic voters. He constantly fought for what was fair. This included fighting the city council's decision to deny his appointments to council and using his power to veto to overrule their decision. His many bills proposed-that were either proposed and died in the house or either implemented after his death and later repealed by former Washington adversary and later mayor Richard Daly-included a human rights bill (which extended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965) and an bill to protect the GLBT community in Chicago.

Harold Washington was very positive and real. He spoke to the constituents as if they were friends and laid the cards out on the table. He held carnivals and went door to door and gain support and earn the trust of his followers. He was very headstrong and listened to the peoples concerns. He went to problem areas and looked at how he could make Chicago beautiful and end the racism and corruption. He was a man for the people.

Despite not being able to finish his work in office due to his untimely death, Washington was up against a lot-the Council, racism, and failure. However, he gave Chicago a taste of change with his initiatives and his grassroots approach to politics. His tenure in office influenced a very young Barack Obama and to this day, in Chicago, on the anniversary of his death, they play an interview he had, where he talked candidly about his life, time in office, and struggles to get where he was at the time of his death.

An example of an unethical leader would be Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois. Blagojevich's tenure saw a 0% approval rating and many scandals erupting including fraud. His legacy is tarnished due to his decision to sell President Obama's senatorial seat to the highest bidder. He is also noted for threatening to cease business with Bank of America over a shut down factory in Chicago.

Blagoveich acts reckless and has a very non-chalant attitude. He appears to act in the interest of the people but cut corners to get results.  He is very private and most of his scandals erupt after months have expired since the deal happened.

Both of these leaders have represented progress and recession in Chicago and Illinois as a whole. Furthermore, these two leaders represent different leadership styles and how contrasting styles can lead you into dangerous territory-i.e. corruption and etc. Lastly, to me these leaders represent the famous quote, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely", in which Blagoveich's complete rule over Illinois corrupted  him, while Washington's control of Chicago saw no corruption due to the check and balance system.

1 comment:

  1. Leadership is a significant part of the answer to whatever challenges organizations may face. It involves getting the right things done by developing and managing motivated, high-performing teams. Your blog is very helpful.

    Emerging Leadership