Leadership Virtues

  1. I know that "perfection" is not a realistic expectation in our elected officials but I think that it is important to set a "standard" that should be strived for. My belief is that some people actually do a little better job than others in achieving certain standards in spite of human nature. So what are the standards I look for in our elected officials entrusted with the public's welfare? I would like to start a list and see where that takes us. At the top of my list are:

    * Honesty
    * Fidelity
    * Integrity
    * Compassion
    * Wisdom
    * Consistency

    Before anybody goes choking on these words all I am saying is that these are the virtues important to me. When I size up a politician, salesman, physician, educator, etc these are the qualities I look for in a person.

    Do I expect perfection? No. Do I expect a reasonable effort by individuals to honor those virtues? I most certainly do. At the same time I will respect an "honest crook" more than a pious hypocrite because, as you may have noted, honesty is at the top of my list.

    -HBS

    Last edit by hbscott on Feb 18, '04
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   ernurse2244
    Well, i believe bush may pass on the fedelity one...but the rest?????
  4. by   hbscott
    Quote from ernurse2244
    Well, i believe bush may pass on the fidelity one...but the rest?????
    I am trying not to focus on specific candidates right now (we have done that already) but would rather get people to identify clearly what it is that they want in their elected officials.

    "I do not think that evils can be cured by blind hatred of their perpetrators. This will only lead us to become like them. Although the effort is not easy, one should attempt....to understand the circumstances that turn men into fiends, and to realise that it is not by blind rage that evils will be prevented." -Bertrand Russell, 1951

    "Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph." -Haile Selassie

    -HBS
  5. by   manna
    I think honesty, integrity and compassion should be a part of anyone's list when it comes to desirable leadership qualities. I would also add humility and work ethic. When it comes to political candidates, I'd prefer someone who places a strong emphasis on personal liberty and responsibility.
  6. by   hbscott
    Quote from manna
    I think honesty, integrity and compassion should be a part of anyone's list when it comes to desirable leadership qualities. I would also add humility and work ethic. When it comes to political candidates, I'd prefer someone who places a strong emphasis on personal liberty and responsibility.
    Thank you Manna. I think identifying what we want in our leaders is a healther exercise than "demonizing" our political opponents. At least for now.

    -HBS
  7. by   manna
    I'd agree, HBS. There are fierce opinions and hurt feelings on all sides of the argument when it comes to specific candidates/parties.
  8. by   pickledpepperRN
    Honesty of course.

    Some candidates say what they want to do as if they will be able to. Wishes don't make things come true. Both parties have done this.

    Knowing which candidate is misleading us knowingly is even more difficult.
    If they all said what they mean and meant what they said choosing who to vote for would be so much easier.
  9. by   hbscott
    I understand that to get elected "the politician" must promise certain things to certain people. In our democracy getting the most votes is how you win elections and get into office.

    If we are upset with our leaders should we not be upset with ourselves because of our votes and/or apathy that resulted in a government run amuck.

    I fear we have become a nation that avoids personal responsibility through the culpability of assigning scapegoats. I cite the following definition of scapegoating:

    "Scapegoating is a hostile social - psychological discrediting routine by which people move blame and responsibility away from themselves and towards a target person or group. It is also a practice by which angry feelings and feelings of hostility may be projected, via inappropriate accusation, towards others. The target feels wrongly persecuted and receives misplaced vilification, blame and criticism; he is likely to suffer rejection from those who the perpetrator seeks to influence. Scapegoating has a wide range of focus: from "approved" enemies of very large groups of people down to the scapegoating of individuals by other individuals. Distortion is always a feature."

    If we can't be honest with ourselves on what it is we want from our leaders then how can we hold them responsible for their actions?

    -HBS
  10. by   SharonH, RN
    The only qualities I look for are the ones I believe necessary to do the job:


    • Judiciousness
    • Integrity
    • Humility
    • A sense of humor
  11. by   hbscott
    Quote from SharonMH31
    The only qualities I look for are the ones I believe necessary to do the job:
    I like your list very much. When we focus on the issues it is so much easier for me to make sense of it all. There has been so much "noise" and nonsense lately that I started to wonder if people had lost their collective minds.

    I have been in health care all of my adult life and there is one thing I have learned, when I am sick I want the best health care provider I can get to nurture me back to health. When so empowered I chose my health care providers carefully. In other words I do my homework.

    We are headed to another national election and I suspect it is going to get very ugly and that makes me sad. But to keep my sanity I will remain focused on what it is I want from my Government and work towards that end. Sometimes my beliefs put me in the majority and sometimes my beliefs are supported by the minority. But I don't compromise my principles to appease a fickle public. It's just not worth it.

    Looking at what other people have written I am encouraged that many of us do share some of the principles and virtues I hold dear. And that is very encouraging indeed.

    -HBS

  12. by   Ted
    1) A firm belief in the concept: "Government for the People by the People"

    2) A firm belief that sometimes the people may not be correct and therefore make bold changes despite "popular opinion". For example, the HUGE changes made despite people opposing Civil Rights during the 1960's, or people opposing women's right to vote during the turn of the century.

    3) The ability to know when to use quality #2 and NOT use it haphazardly.

    4) Firmly grounded in the value that People come first. Not business, and not profits.

    5) Be firmly grounded in the concept of fairness and equality; and safeguard fairness and equality for all citizens (including sex, race, sexual orientation, etc.).

    6) Diplomatic.

    7) Be a leader in encouraging world input and world solutions to world problems and issues.

    8) Possess the ability to learn from mistakes and avoid repeating mistakes.

    9) The ability to inspire positive change amongst the citizenry towards the greater good of human kind (especially with regards to environmental, healthcare, economic, educational issues, etc. . . ).

    10) Tirelessly work to have an effective government to meet the needs of its citizenry. Not necessarily a "bigger government" or "smaller government". Just an effective, dependable, "for the people by the people" type of government.

    11) The ability to inspire the citizenry to become involved with government which is "for the people, by the people" and claim heartfelt ownership in the government.

    I'm sure I can add more, but I'm at work and I'm getting an admission soon. . . Lucky you!


    This is an excellent thread, by the way.

    Ted
    Last edit by Ted on Feb 18, '04
  13. by   Spidey's mom
    Wow. I wonder if any of us can live up to the expectations we have of politicians.

    What I would like to see is someone who states what his beliefs/convictions are and then sticks to them no matter what way the wind is blowing. Someone who doesn't try to be all things to all people. Someone I could count on to keep his word. So, integrity.

    Honor the office you hold and do nothing to degrade it. So, remain humble.

    I'm just wondering if it is possible to stay in politics and keep your ethics. Seems like politics cull the people who are determined to not toss their beliefs away for the "greater good" of getting elected.

    I wish we didn't have career politicians . .. . a throwback to the old days of volunteering time for a couple of years and then heading back to the farm would be nice.

    steph
  14. by   hbscott
    Quote from stevielynn
    Wow. I wonder if any of us can live up to the expectations we have of politicians.
    True enough. We all have to learn sometime that even the best of our elected officials have human frailties. But I think it is safe to say that it is important that there be standards of acceptable conduct for these leaders and it is important for us to be able to articulate those standards.

    Anyone in a position of trust needs to be trustworthy, not perfect.

    -HBS

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