Blending Business and Government Leadership

Business and government can’t be separated. When Congress was at a standoff during the debt ceiling crisis in 2011, 300 business executives signed an open letter posted in The Wall Street Journal to encourage an agreement. The fiscal policy debate had been heavily impacting the market, and Americans were afraid of another major economic downturn.

As we look to Election 2012, it’s becoming very clear that Presidential candidates are being evaluated not only on their public qualifications, but on their qualifications as business leaders as well. Is it beneficial for the President to possess the same leadership skills as a CEO?

Quite possibly. Many of the same skills needed to lead a multinational firm can also help a President lead the United States. While the context might be different, some of the main competencies that help define a great leader are the same.

According to Bersin & Associates, there are certain competencies that set 21st century leaders apart from the pack. These include:

  • Innovation
  • Agility
  • Global Acumen
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Management of Diverse Workforces

Consider the fact that China continues to grow its economic and production influence on the world. Would an innovative President address solutions to help ensure that the U.S. stays competitive?

Or when we look at the public officials representing citizens today, we see that representatives and citizens no longer neatly fit the definitions of Republican or Democrat. Would a President benefit from experience managing diverse workforces?

While we currently do not measure a Presidential candidate’s personality, cognitive ability or behavioral tendencies as part of their qualifications, we can draw comparisons from the information available to the public. We can see through past actions and experiences whether someone understands how to successfully work with a diverse workforce or possesses the amount of global acumen required to collaborate with foreign leadership.

The President does not necessarily need to have been a CEO, but possessing great leadership skills should be required for any executive position, in the government or in business. Consider the leadership competencies you use for performance measurement and succession planning in your company. Do they help you find and promote the right leaders?

Once you’ve determined what competencies a great leader should possess, see what changes you might need to make and implement a strategy that helps you define great leaders. You will then be able to grow leaders from high-potential employees and set your company up to be differentiated in the market.

Add new comment