S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hungry For Leadership Again

The American public, as well as many abroad, are hungry for good leadership.

After the desperately hoped-for 2006 victories for Democratic majorities in Congress, we have been almost universally disappointed in the leadership shown since then. Presidential campaigns, I believe, are one of the drivers for this hunger for leadership every four years. For many Americans their President is the penultimate leader. We invest a great deal in this person and expect a great deal back. And we want the person of our choice to be worth the investment. (See my *similar previous posts below).

People surfing the Internet are not always sure what good leadership entails, so they might do a Google or Yahoo! search on terms such as "leadership qualities," "best leaders named," or similar phrases. I noticed today that fully one third of the readers of my South by Southwest blog found it as a result of some kind of "leadership" search. We generally think of government leaders but opinion makers provide significant leadership that affects the outcomes of elections. Bloggers are opinion makers, "big" bloggers and "little" bloggers alike.

An analogous hunger for leadership exists in the blogosphere, I think. We invest a great deal in reading the big blogs or our own "favorite" bookmarked or linked blogs, and we expect a great deal in return. I cannot speak for others so I will list those qualities of leadership that I admire in the big blogs to which I regularly turn. The leadership qualities after each name apply to both presidential and opinion-making leaders. Firedoglake's Christy Hardin Smith is very good at connecting with people -- good leaders instinctively know how to connect with their followers. Andrew Sullivan has the ability to see another's side -- good leaders are reasonably capable of listening to an opposing view. On the other hand, some of my favorite very smart bloggers, Glenn Greenwald, for example, are rather skeptical -- leaders I admire are willing to challenge the conventional wisdom. The blog of emptywheel is a really good source of investigative journalism -- good leaders are diligent about gathering the facts. Steve Benen writes a bodaciously fine blog, The Carpetbagger Report, all by himself on a very regular basis -- good leaders have a genuine dedication to a cause. The most widely read bloggers, Maud Newton, for example, exhibit good taste -- leaders do not intentionally offend us.

What makes a "little" or less widely read blogger a good leader with me? I am often influenced by what little bloggers post. The good writer most always does his or her homework -- leaders do the preparation necessary for credibility. Bloggers I admire most "tell it like it is" -- leaders expect us to be able to handle the truth. The best bloggers are multi-talented -- the best leaders often show a number of areas of excellence. My favorite writers exhibit a great deal of authenticity -- leaders with followers that last for the long haul are not "phonies." Some of my favorite bloggers are also activists -- leaders take steps that could bring about change. Good bloggers have the ability to write with passion -- leaders are not afraid of emotion.

*Similar previous posts:

References: The Web Habits of Highly Effective People, HT to my favorite "big" literary blogger, Maud Newton

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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betmo said...

you left yourself off of that list. so i will put your name into the hat. :)

we haven't had effective leadership from the workplace on up to the white house for so long- most folks have no idea what real leadership is. there was a quote i heard years ago that has stuck with me- i will paraphrase so it might not be exact:

'We, the unwilling, led by the unqualified, have been doing the unbelievable so long with so little, that we now attempt the impossible with nothing.'

Carol Gee said...

Well, thank you very much, betmo!
I was lucky enough to have some very good leadership/mentoring over the years of my (late) career. Perhaps I was mature enough to make use of it. But political leadership seems almost quaint these days.
I love the quote. I will try to find the source and post it as a slogan on this blog, if it is OK with you?
I appreciate your thoughts, my friend.