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Daily Leadership Thought #86 – Every Leader Gets Tested

January 31, 2011

President Barack Obama | whitehouse.gov

Every leader ultimately reaches a point where his/her resolve is tested, and they must make some form of a moral decision.  Words are easy.  Action is much more difficult.  About every organization I work with has a set of core values they have created to communicate what the organization stands for and the boundaries of acceptable behavior.  The strongest companies tend to institutionalize these values through policies, processes, and systems to ensure they are “walking the talk” even when the easier path is to compromise.

Our president, Barack Obama, currently is facing a major test of his moral leadership and resolve.   For years, our country has looked the other way when it comes to the authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak.  We have favored political expediency and “Realpolitik” over the democratic reforms the Egyptian people have been seeking for decades.  Political pragmatism has often trumped our moral and ethical values in the Middle East and other parts of the world.   If there is one thing the United States of America is supposed to stand for it is the importance of individual freedom and democracy.

Just like every other leader but on a much more profound scale, all American presidents seem to get tested as to whether they truly mean what they say.   They also are asked to be stewards of a political system whose fundamental principles are clearly laid out to follow.   The very nature of leadership is that others look to someone else to lead and provide guidance as to what is important. It is also important for that leader to navigate the inevitable challenges that get in the way of living this reality and pursuing a better future.  If it were easy, everyone could do it.  President Obama, the world is watching…