[November 20, 2021] I started this series of “Leader Don’ts” a couple of years ago as a joke to keep some of my younger readers interested in my blog. What I didn’t realize was how popular it became among older readers. That’s why I’m bringing it back, and today’s topic is about how leaders should not be unlikeable.
This idea of not being unlikeable would seem to run counter-intuitive to most of us. Leaders are often disliked for various reasons, mainly because they make decisions that not everyone will agree with when made. Yet, it is incumbent upon that leader to clearly explain their position and argue why. Not all leaders are good at doing so, and that drives their unlikeability factor.
Politicians, who depend upon voters (and thus likeability), are most sensitive to this issue and work hard to remain in a good position with their constituents. There are several notable exceptions like Jimmy Carter and Hillary Clinton. Both had considerable success in their political careers, but both fell to the same personality flaw. They were unlikeable because they could not politely and clearly explain their positions without insulting those they depend upon for votes.
Recently, Vice President Kamala Harris has fallen to a similar flaw. You can tell when this happens in our modern politics when we read about “unnamed sources confirm ….” something unsavory is underway. In Harris’s situation, according to CNN, “the list of complaints between the West Wing and the vice president’s office keeps growing.” Harris is an opportunist of few fixed principles. And, her interviews with friendly media figures that give her a tremendous opportunity to talk to the American people and explain her decisions have been embarrassing.
“Harris is not interesting, she’s not substantive, she’s not provocative, or innovative, or wry. She’s not funny. She’s not amiable. She’s not accomplished or persuasive or adroit.” – Charles C. W. Cooke at National Review
Plenty of political pundits are “looking into” the root cause of Kamala Harris’s falling public image. Many Democrats are blaming racism, and sexism is at the heart of why she is disliked. Good luck with that.
She has a character flaw, like Carter and H. Clinton, which is not so easily repaired.
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