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Why Can’t Our Leaders Get Along?

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in Remarkable Leadership with Kevin Eikenberry

I don’t often (OK, basically never) write about politics or the political system, except to look for lessons we can learn from what our leaders are doing (or not doing).

That’s where this piece will end, but first, a bit of a rant.

Why can’t our Congress and our president get along? I mean, we have serious issues facing us as a nation and they just keep kicking issues further out on the calendar like a little boy kicks a dented can down the sidewalk.

I know that this isn’t the first time in history that these sorts of things have happened, and I understand the political gamesmanship that is going on, and yet, nothing seems to get resolved …

Do you notice when progress is made?

It is when our lawmakers get together over dinner, coffee, golf or in some other informal setting. In those times, they are able to strip out the extraneous stuff and make progress. Why is that when progress is made? Because then they are actually talking to each other.

If you want to solve a problem of any size, you won’t solve it by sending notes through others (we did this in grade school, our leaders do it too — through the media). We solve rifts, reduce conflict and learn things when we sit down and talk about things. Face to face, one on one, agendas and posturing dropped.

I believe our lawmakers are smart people. I believe that in most cases they like each other on a personal level. And I know that when those facts shine through, people can work on hard problems and make progress.

You have hard problems in your business environment. They may not be as complex or public as those that Congress deals with, but your solutions will come in the same ways theirs will.

Get to know the people in those other departments better. Learn more about their goals and objectives, yes, but also about their families, hobbies and passions. Don’t see them as a roadblock, or worse, as the enemy; see what they really are: colleagues who we can help and who we can work with to make real progress.

Sit down with them, build relationships and work together to find solutions. When Congress does it, it works. It will work for you too.

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