Leadership requires an understanding of public relations. To lead you must be willing to listen and gain trust from followers. That’s what PR is about: dialogue and honesty. People don’t always have to agree with you to follow you. But they do have to trust you.
We have just seen – on both sides of the aisle – the largest failure of leadership I’ve ever witnessed. Our elected officials – after saying they had a deal – could not get members of their own parties to go along with an agreement to shore up financial markets. Consider this: 40 percent of Democrats and two-thirds of Republicans opposed the legislation. If their own colleagues in the House don’t trust them, why should we?
Our governmental leaders, for too long, have given us the partisan-painted “truth”, have made decisions that benefit their cronies and have cried wolf too many times. Clearly, they were not listening to members who were reluctant to spend $700 billion for what many considered a bailout of failed executives.
If this were a real crisis, many believe, they would have developed a crisis communications plan to get America on board with their plan. And the Congress would have pulled out all the stops and voted last week.
From President Bush on down, we have seen no real leadership, nothing that would indicate this is anything more than a scare to get voters’ attention before the election. For too long partisanship has come before country. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, if really convinced we have a crisis, would have just called for a vote instead of berating Republicans first.
I believe many of these elected officials have just lost their jobs because they don’t understand the elements of PR and how it relates to leadership. What do you think?