Monday, November 3, 2008

Best Leadership Requires Listening to Others' Opinions

A long-term study by Lawrence A. Pfaff found that women were rated as significantly better leaders then men overall ( Pfaff found that men's leadership tended to be more autocratic. This indicates if men become less autocratic and more consensus-oriented they will be better leaders.

Politically, this suggests we should vote for more women leaders so we can have better government. I have no doubt men in general can learn to lead as well as women in general, but I believe that will take a lot of time because men learn leadership beginning in childhood, so even if there was a great effort to change they way boys are raised it would probably take a generation before men can become as good at leadership as women are. However, there are some men who have learned to lead by consensus and they are be role models for boys and men to teach them to avoid partisan fighting and become bi-partisan leaders.

Gov. Sarah Palin provides a great example of consensus leadership. Biographer Kalene Johnson said of Palin:

"while she held strong convictions that aligned with the Republican platform, her first concern was for the community she hoped to serve. ...Sarah had a vision for the small town. She imagined Wasilla becoming a major economic player in the state, a place where new development could create opportunity and prosperity (Sarah, page 45).

Donald Moore, the borough manager of Alaska's Mat-Su Valley observed: "Sarah's governance is consensus oriented. ...She makes sure everyone has a chance to have a say; nobody gets left out. But there comes a point when the debate is over and a decision has to be made. She's also the type of manager who, once she reaches her cadence, expects everyone to keep up" (page 65).

Palin says when negotiating a solution with someone who has a different opinion she starts "by not discrediting or invalidating because of a position that maybe they take that you are in disagreement with. You learn from them and you do, you're able to find middle ground on so many of these issues...There is always a way to work with another person...let's find a way to work together and solve the problem, that's what we've done in our family and in my businesses, and also in governance" (Gretawire, FOX News, October 31, 2008).

Regarding consensus governance Palin said on FOX News:

"That's were my experience as an executive gets plugged in as mayor of course you're working in a non-partisan, bipartisan manner all the time. You're filling pot holes and you're making sure your police department is fully funded, you're taking care of the people whom you are serving, never letting obsessive partisanship...on that level get in the way of just doing what's right. And then on the state level too as governor being able to reach out across party appointing Democrats and Independents and Republicans in my administration, got the track record to prove that that's they way I operate is getting along with those who perhaps...don't agree on ever single issue, but ...that's what you've got to do especially in this time of great challenge for America.