How to Pick a Presidential Candidate

I’ve resisted writing about the debacle that is ongoing in the United States. The debacle known as the Presidential Election of 2016. 

Rather then comment on the remaining candidates individually I thought I’d share with you some of the requirements for Authentic Leadership. You can look at the candidates and decide for yourself if they meet one or more (or any) of these requirements. 

Authentic leaders have core values. They know what they stand for and they do not compromise on those core values for anything or anyone. These core values guide every decision and over time even casual observers will see these core values in action. In fact, Authentic Leaders seldom speak of their core values, instead they display them on a regular basis for all to see.

Authentic Leaders know their strengths and weaknesses. They know what they don’t know and they are not afraid to admit it. They know that admitting a mistake is better than lying about it and they know that lying is usually a bigger mistake than the original mistake they refuse to admit. They use their strengths to their advantage and and they have the courage to allow people smarter than them into their inner circle to help minimize their weaknesses.

Authentic Leaders are genuine. They are honest to the core. They have no hidden agendas and they know that their success is completely dependent upon the success of the people they lead. They don’t lead in order to build better followers, they lead to build more leaders. Authentic Leaders are true difference makers and they leave a positive legacy that outlasts their service as a leader.

Authentic Leaders listen well. They listen to opposing views as much as they listen to supporting views. They let the best idea win no matter where the idea came from. They celebrate the success of others as much or more than they celebrate their own. They have solid, well thought-out plans that include back-up plans and action steps. Their goals and objectives are realistic and attainable. Authentic Leaders are proactive and seldom impulsive or reactive, they have a vision and they are able to earn “buy-in” through their positive influence.

Authentic Leaders have a strong ethical & morale compass. They know what’s right and they do what’s right. They do not play games with language or re-define words to fit their situation. Authentic Leaders know that trust is the foundation of all successful relationships and they work tirelessly to ensure that they never violate the trust of their followers. Authentic Leaders are honest people and they tell the truth even when it may hurt. They value their credibility more than they value winning or living in a tax-payer funded big white house.

So, that’s a bit of what an Authentic Leader looks like. I’d prefer the President of the United States, or the leader of any country for that matter, be an Authentic Leader. I’m not making any judgments here about which of the candidates may or may not possess the aforementioned characteristics, it’s your vote and your choice. Just be honest with yourself.

If you see a candidate that fits the description then you know how to vote. If you don’t, well, I hear Australia is a nice place to live. 

7 thoughts on “How to Pick a Presidential Candidate

      • That’s a great question. I think I’d pin responsibility on the media, both on the left and right. The radicals on both sides are a product of talk radio and 24 hour news cycles.

        It’s beyond sad that hate and ideology drives ratings but that appears to be the case. As long as the ratings stay high so will the vitriolic talk.

        Somehow working with someone who has different views from your own has become a sign of cowardice. It used to be a sign of leadership.

      • Thank you, Mr Keating, for your thought-filled reply! I am interested to see the final results of the voting! I am still holding out for a strong, unknown candidate to help our country TURN A CORNER to some semblance of order in government!

  1. Steve, totally agree on your notes on authenticity and leadership. All people want to grow and expand and create a better life for themselves….it is part of our spiritual nature (and I know you know that). Government, by its nature is a bureaucracy whereby its purpose is to be re-elected not to grow the people of the U.S. Govt is continually interested in self-preservation any way it sees fit.

    Historically our Govt Leadership has made difficult and powerful leadership decisions. Where Govt Leadership has existed (and it most definitely has) it was the result of the situational context that the US faced at the time. It had zero to do with authentic principles of leadership…….no matter how people try to interpret it.

    At present All those participating in our election process are “inauthentic”. All of them are saying what they believe will get them re-elected. And that is O.K. (don’t move to Australia) because our Founding Fathers created a Constitution that keeps the three branches of govt in balance. For seven years, as hard as Obama tried (coming from good intentions) he was not able to create a European style Socialistic state in the U. S……thanks to checks and balances and thanks to our Founding Fathers.

    If people look to grow their own lives they have to look within themselves first and foremost not to a bureaucracy. What the Govt does do for the people is to protect…..in most cases…..at least enough to get re-elected.

    Look to authentic leadership where their is accountability…..great parents……great teachers….great coaches…..great business leaders………great leaders in the performing arts. What they all have in common is that their authentic leadership inspired themselves and inspired others to grow, to create, to expand. Listen to the inductees’ speeches to our Halls of Fame for examples of authentic leadership. Their public speeches of appreciation are a good starting point for identifying great and authentic leadership.

    • Wow Joe, that is just outstanding insight. Perhaps in normal times the best we should expect from our government is solid management. When things go bad, attacks, wars, market crashes, etc., I think you are correct, leadership does come to the front and we discover who our true leaders are.

      But on an everyday basis we need to remember that there are leaders all around us, positive examples of doing the right things right. The fact is that most Authentic Leaders don’t actually hold a leadership position, they lead from where they are at because for them, leading is an almost natural act.

      Thanks for your comment Joe, I truly appreciate it!

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