Looking back at leadership: rating the U.S. presidents

It’s no surprise the top spots go to the usual trio of Lincoln, Washington and FDR. But things get interesting after that

Looking back at leadership: rating the U.S. presidentsRating the relative merits of historical figures is an academic exercise that provides both fun and frustration. It’s also an enterprise fraught with challenges. How, for example, do you keep it even moderately free of ideological bias? Those challenges notwithstanding, U.S. presidents have been prime fodder for this kind of assessment. The liberal historian Arthur…

Leadership amid the flames of the Great Fire of London

Charles II's leadership during the Great fire of London was the kind of performance that gives kings a good name

Leadership amid the flames of the Great Fire of LondonIn the early hours of Sept. 2, 1666, 350 years ago, the Great Fire of London ignited in a baker’s shop in a little street called Pudding Lane. It spread havoc over the next four days, laying waste to the old walled city at the centre of London. By the time the fire was extinguished,…

The party’s over: without ideology, we lack leadership

Elections are no longer contests of ideas but rather competing marketing campaigns to see who gets to control the state’s levers of coercion

The party’s over: without ideology, we lack leadershipThe bedrock of traditional party politics is crumbling. The end result could be devastating to western society. For political junkies, presidential nominating conventions are destination television. It’s ritualistic theatre as, almost without exception in living memory, the presumptive nominee has been confirmed. Officially winning warrants breaking news alerts but the conventions are more about marketing…

Where have all the leaders gone?

Political leaders no longer lead; they have sunk into the habit of following an increasingly frustrated public into a cycle of despair

Where have all the leaders gone?The 1960s folksong Where Have All the Flowers Gone? takes listeners on a lyrical journey from innocence to war, destruction and back again, in a recurring cycle of despair. “Where have all the flowers gone ... a long time passing?” Like everything else it seems: “to graveyards everyone.” “When will they ever learn?” Today, we are repeating the cycle.…

What politicians must learn from Pope Francis’ leadership style

Politicians, sadly, are only accustomed to the smell of their own party faithful

What politicians must learn from Pope Francis’ leadership stylePoliticians would love to have the approval ratings of Pope Francis. His popularity crosses party lines and spills over the borders of the tiny state he heads. The spiritual leader of the Catholic Church may be the most influential and galvanizing leader on the world stage. But leadership traits alone cannot fully explain the Francis…

Trust a vital quality for effective leadership

Trust has a practical impact on the bottom line. Just ask the oil industry

Trust a vital quality for effective leadershipIn a world that’s moving as rapidly and unpredictably as our world is today, what’s the ‘North Star’ for leaders, the one constant – in a universe of insecurity – that can ensure success? Trust. This was the compelling message put forward by Steven M.R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust (and son of…
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