As a practicing leader for thirty-five years as a business executive and author of three books on leadership, I have documented the three critical things that leaders do to solve problems. After further experience and analysis it is clear that liberals and laggards in Congress do the exact opposite of what should be done in order to stop aggressive policy solutions or keep aggressive solutions stuck in neutral.
Let?s first note that getting elected to Congress does not make you a leader. Being chosen as the Senate or House Minority Leader because you have survived more re-elections than your party colleagues does not make you a leader. We see evidence of this fact daily on the issue of restructuring the Social Security system. Namely, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) consistently attack the idea of optional personal accounts, but offer no alternate solutions.
The first critical thing that real leaders do is remove barriers to understanding a problem and its solution. Liberals create barriers to cause confusion. The Social Security system has been on a path to insolvency for decades. But despite President Bush?s leadership on fixing the problem, the liberal Democrats in Congress have dug in their heels to obstruct any real solutions. They even went so far as to say that if the president takes his solution off the table, they would then come to the table and talk. That?s liberal code for no new ideas, no solutions and nothing new to talk about.
The second critical thing that leaders do is ask the right questions. Liberals ask the wrong or misleading questions. Laggards don?t even bother to ask questions. Six media polls (ABC, CBS, CNN, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Associated Press) recently asked essentially the same question, ?Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling Social Security?? With that wording of the question they received the result they were looking for. Nearly sixty percent of the respondents said they disapprove.
It was the wrong question because the president is not handling Social Security; he is trying to restructure Social Security with optional personal retirement accounts. Further, when the president?s name is inserted in the question, people who voted against or dislike the president will disapprove no matter what the question.
Herman Cain is the National Chairman of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute. He is the former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Inc., and currently is CEO and president of T.H.E. New Voice, Inc., a business and leadership consulting company.
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