[October 12, 2013] It is certainly no surprise that we Americans today are not happy with our federal government. Our dissatisfaction has reached a record-breaking low point.
Consider how dissatisfied we are in the following sampling of survey results:
- 18% are satisfied with the way the nation is being governed1
- 60% say fire every single member of Congress2 (includes their own congressman)
- 78% think the country is on the wrong track2
These results have moved more into the negative column over the past month since the “shutdown.”
Senior leaders do not need people to like them to get the job done, or to do the right thing by performing their jobs. However, senior leaders must have the respect of those that do work for them (despite their popularity). In the case of our federal government, it appears that many Americans neither like Congress nor respect them.
There are at least three important sources to this lack of satisfaction.
- Polarizing rhetoric
- “Government shutdown”
- Extreme partisanship
Politicians fill an unusual role as senior leaders. They do not fall into the typical organizational structure as a CEO of a large company would. Their “shareholders” are voters and the politician must satisfy them to keep their job. Instead of having one main boss, they have many.
Yet they are subject to the same leader “characteristics” and standards that any CEO would have to measure up to. Given that they are public servants, “duty, honor, country” should be one set of values high on their list.
The current dissatisfaction by the American people is a proper response to a failure in senior leadership. The federal government has failed in its responsibilities to provide a constitutionally mandated fiscal budget, meaningful leadership, and fair discussions on the problems facing our nation.
What we see instead is childish name-calling, flying insults, refusal to discuss the issues (much less compromise) – all indicative of the most irresponsible failure in leadership.
Whether we like it or not, the world looks to the United States for leadership. When they see American politicians acting as they have recently, then it is a signal for them to act similarly.
The good news for senior executive leaders is that we can see what not to do.
 Gallup Poll
 NBC/WSJ Poll