7 Traits of Leadership: A Voter’s Guide

Vote tomorrow

Vote tomorrow

Tomorrow, voters will go to the polls in Boca Raton and Delray Beach for municipal elections.

In both cities, the stakes are high. But most likely a very small group of registered voters will decide who gets to serve.

That’s sad, because voting is a right that we should not take for granted and voting in a local election is especially important because local government touches our lives in a big way.

From how our town will look and feel to the amount of local taxes we will pay, city government is important but often ignored. It shouldn’t be.

It seems a big lament in society today is a lack of leadership at all levels of government.

I agree, but I also believe that our best and brightest often shun public service because of the negative climate of politics today. While it is true that” if you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen”; it’s also understandable when smart, capable people don’t want to swim in a cesspool of dysfunction.

Communities should encourage vigorous debate and lots of accountability, but push back against vile behavior, misinformation, corruption and the politics of personal destruction.

If you do, there is a chance that your pool of leadership will expand and that’s always a good thing.

So while we won’t recommend candidates, we do urge you to vote and to study the issues and the candidates so that you can cast an informed ballot.  With a bunch of candidates running and a great many issues to be decided by the newly elected officials,  it’s important to understand what good leadership looks like.

Nobody is opposed to great leadership but few communities take the time to actually discuss what it takes to bring it about.  Often we fail to monitor leaders and hold them accountable for performance and for promises. Too often, we “suffer” poor leaders and decide to just “wait them out”.

One of the best books on leadership I’ve seen discusses this problem in-depth. In “Why We Are So Bad at Picking Good Leaders” the authors outline seven character traits that great leaders possess.

The rub, so to speak, is that if leaders are missing any of the seven traits, they are doomed to either come up short or fail.

The traits are: integrity, vision, passion, emotional intelligence, empathy, courage and judgment.

That’s as good a list of traits as I’ve seen.

While it’s hard to determine whether a candidate possesses these traits from a mail piece or a campaign sign, in a small town we should know those who seek to represent us a lot better than those we send to Tallahassee or Washington.

So we hope you attended a candidate’s forum, went to a meet and greet and had a chance to dissect the candidate’s message.  We hope you were able to determine if they exhibit any of the seven traits or whether they have a glaring weakness. It’s important, because we entrust our community to the brave people who step into the arena. They can either make Delray and Boca better or hurt our town; it’s important that we choose wisely and make our vote count.

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